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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Meetup

reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

Meetup logo

The ‘Crewe/Nantwich/Sandbach Meetup Group’ are looking for new members. The group formed in February this year and is open to anyone in the Crewe, Nantwich, Sandbach and surrounding areas who is looking to make new friends.

The group does exactly what its members want it to do which could involve drinks nights, walks, coffee mornings, cinema trips, days out, weekends away, and activity trips.

To join please visit: http://www.meetup.com/Crewe-Nantwich-Sandbach-Meetup-Group/ 

Founder member Karen Gordon said, "We've had a fabulous response already and enjoyed several successful events. We have lots more planned and look forward to welcoming new members".

Electro 80s concert.

Reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

Electro80s - The Studio - Fri 28-3-14 - Man O Chrome with his protege Little Black

1980's Electronica tribute band 'Electro 80s' - http://www.electro80s.com/ - performed at 'The Studio Nightclub & Entertainment Venue' (formerly Gregory's) - http://www.thestudionantwich.co.uk/ - in Nantwich on Friday 28th March 2014.

The venue re-opened last year after extensive refurbishment and the concert took place in the music and stage area on the middle level with additional viewing available from the balcony area around the top level.

Electro80s - The Studio - Fri 28-3-14

Electro 80s arrived on stage shortly after 10pm and performed a two-hour set recreating songs by artists including Gary Numan, OMD, Visage, Tears for Fears, A Flock of Seagulls, Kraftwerk, Howard Jones, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, The Human League, Erasure, and Yazoo.

Their show was accompanied by a light display and robotic dancer 'Man O' Chrome' with his protégé ‘Little Black’. The finale was Say Hello, Wave Goodbye from Soft Cell.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Crewe Charity wins national Sustainable Cities status

 

image004

Pictured below from left: Jacob Wye, 20, customer, Johnathon Satchwell, 26 trainee, Edward Timpson, MP, Ben Wye CC Cycles Manager, Rev. Rob Wykes, Director, Christian Concern

CC-Cycles is based in the St Paul’s Centre which is most famous for its Friday Furniture Sale; but it is more than that, and others are starting to recognise this.

Nominated for the Sustainable City Awards CC-Cycles were at The Mansion House ceremony last Thursday to receive their Certificate in the Sustainable Travel and Transport Awards. ‘With a tiny budget and local residents volunteering this recognition is great for Crewe and brilliant for the team that achieved it’ said Rob Wykes the Charities Director.

On the way to  the awards, the team cycled to the House of Commons where Edward Timpson, the Crewe and Nantwich MP, congratulated them, and expressed his delight that once again Crewe is being recognised for innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainability. He said ‘it’s positive for Crewe and a clear message to the country that we are serious about sustainable travel’. 

In less than 12 months CC-Cycles has been able to refurbish more than 250 cycles. Most of these are used by local people to get to work. Ben Wye the project manager said ‘cycling is cleaner, leaner, cheaper; it’s good for you and good for Crewe. We need more cycles to refurbish.  Please call us on 01270 586186 and we will collect, in any condition.’ 

The workshop is a skills development hub for young and old alike, and has recently been expanded. It is fully equipped and it is common   to see retired Bentley engineers teaching young adults traditional mechanical skills. More importantly these young people gain positive attitudes towards work by working alongside experienced engineers. Rob Wykes explains how important it is to help young people make the connection between what they do in the workshop, and the income it can generate. ‘In our workshop these young people see their effort reaping a reward and they become energised.’  As Crewe lifts its eyes to the horizon of HS2, more employment, more houses, more traffic and more things to do, means that cycling will again become an essential choice of travel around town, and CC-Cycles has a huge part to play in this.

About the award:  http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/environment-and-planning/sustainability/sustainable-city-awards/Pages/default.aspx

For further details, or photos contact:

Ben Wye

Christian Concern

St Paul's Centre
Hightown
Crewe
CW1 3BY

Tel: 01270 586186 mobile 07795644179

https://www.facebook.com/ChristianConcernCycles

www.christianconcern.org.uk

Walkies! Get fit walking your dog – the responsible way

DSCF7711

Cheshire East Council is encouraging dog owners to get fit in our beautiful country parks – and learn more about doggy ‘dos and don’ts’ in the countryside.

The Council’s countryside ranger service and community wardens’ team is working in partnership throughout April to highlight the benefits of a walk with your dog in the countryside – while spotlighting our dog ‘code of conduct’.

As part of this month-long project we will focus on four countryside sites managed by the countryside ranger service – Astbury Mere Country Park, Brereton Heath Local Nature Reserve, Macclesfield Riverside Park and Tegg’s Nose Country Park.

Community wardens will be patrolling these sites during April and engaging with dog walkers. Visitor centres will be displaying educational information about some of the issues associated with dog fouling and the importance of the following the dog code of conduct, when visiting country parks and the countryside.

As part of this campaign, in partnership with the Dogs Trust, we are also able to offer FREE dog chipping and registration at four roadshows across the Borough:

· Thursday, April 3 – 11am to 3pm – Astbury Mere Country Park - Sandy Lane, Off A34 Newcastle Road, Congleton, Cheshire, CW12 4FR;

· Thursday, April 10 – 11am to 3pm – Macclesfield Riverside Park, Beechwood Mews, off Manchester Road, Tytherington, Macclesfield, SK10 2SL;

· Thursday, April 17 – 11am to 3pm – Tegg’s Nose Country Park, Buxton Old Road, Macclesfield, SK11 0AP;

· Friday, April 25 – 11am to 3pm – Brereton Heath Local Nature Reserve, Davenport Lane, Brereton, Congleton, CW12 4SU.

Rangers and community warden staff will be handing out an information ‘flyer’ sheet during the project.

Councillor David Topping, Cabinet member in charge of environment, said: “These roadshows are a great opportunity for dog owners to learn more about our

dog-walking ‘code of conduct’ while visiting our stunning country parks and getting fitter in the fresh air.

“Health experts recommend that we all get at least 30 minutes’ exercise a day – and this is something that everybody can achieve by a daily dog walk in the countryside.

“Responsible dog ownership, such as clearing up after your animal and control of your pet near wildlife, is really important for ensuring that everyone can enjoy our fantastic countryside to the full.”

The community wardens are also launching a new survey, which we are asking visitors to our parks to complete, both online and in person at the roadshows, to gauge people’s feelings about the Council’s use of dog control orders.

To complete the survey visit:  http://cheshireeast.dog-control-orders.sgizmo.com/s3/

New figures show tourism is booming in beautiful Cheshire East

 

New figures show tourism is booming in ‘beautiful Cheshire East’ – despite the tough economic climate.

The annual STEAM (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor) analysis of the Borough’s visitor economy shows that in 2013 the tourism industry grew by seven per cent and is now worth a massive £737m.

The latest research shows the value and volume of tourism across Cheshire and Warrington and outlines Cheshire East’s success.

Headline figures for the Borough released today show the value of the visitor economy has soared by 35 per cent since Cheshire East Council was formed in 2009 and the number of tourists has risen by 18 per cent.

A total of 13.9 million people visited the Borough last year – an increase of 5.3 per cent on 2012.

The number of people employed in the tourism sector also rose by 6.2 per cent last year to a total of 10,461 (full-time equivalent) jobs – a rise of 21.5 per cent since 2009.

A further boost was given by figures showing the number of visitors staying in the area increased by 4.3 per cent in 2013, while the number of day visitors rose by 5.4 per cent.

Cheshire East Council Leader Michael Jones welcomed the news and said: “Cheshire East is such a beautiful and rewarding place to visit and stay, with so much to offer people, that I must say I am not really surprised at these excellent figures.

“The fact that more and more people are being drawn to the Borough is testament not only to its obvious natural attractions and bigger visitor draws, such as Tatton Park and our other beautiful country parks, but also to the very many first-class and warmly welcoming hotels, guest houses and small businesses that support them.

“At the same time, we are investing in infrastructure to make our towns even more appealing to visitors and to improve the quality of life for residents.

“The All Change for Crewe strategy and proposals for a strategic transport and HS2 hub are set to revitalise that town over the next 20 years and improve connectivity for travellers, while Macclesfield will be enjoying a major regeneration based on its silk heritage and its leisure and retail offer.”

Other sites are attracting new high-tech businesses and generating new jobs, while Bentley is investing £800m in its car manufacturing plant that will create 1,000 new jobs.

Councillor Jones added: “Cheshire East is an attractive place to do business and these developments will undoubtedly help to boost the business tourism sector.

“Cheshire East is open for business – but it’s also open to offer people of all ages a fantastic break from the stresses of work and the hurly-burly of modern living.

“Cheshire East is simply a great place to be – and to be yourself.” 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Benefits cheat ordered to repay more than £25,000 and put under a dusk-to-dawn curfew

 

A woman who fraudulently claimed more than £25,000 in benefits has been ordered by magistrates to repay the money and put under a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Elizabeth Giblin, 43, of Davenport Avenue, Crewe, pleaded guilty at South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court to four charges of dishonestly failing to report a change in her circumstances in relation to claims for jobseekers’ allowance, income support, housing benefit and Council Tax benefit.

Magistrates sitting at Crewe heard (on Friday March 21) that Giblin claimed housing and Council Tax benefits, since September 2003, as a lone parent receiving income support and her claim was later based on jobseekers’ allowance as a single person, from October 2010, following her children leaving the property. 

Giblin commenced self-employment in October 2012, and continued to claim housing and Council Tax benefit as a single person.

A joint investigation into Giblin’s claims for the above benefits by investigators from Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud investigation team and the Department for Work and Pensions found that Giblin’s partner had joined the household in November 2008, and had been supporting her financially.

In failing to report this change and actively pursuing her claim, Giblin was overpaid benefits totalling £25,087.

Magistrates imposed a sentence of 32 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for two years with a two-year supervision order, along with a curfew for six weeks from 7pm to 7am. A compensation order was granted for recovery of the overpaid benefit payable at £100 per month.

The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud investigation team and legal team.

Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “The message from this latest successful prosecution is clear: people who try to cheat the system and hard-working taxpayers will be pursued by this Council and brought to justice.

“Cheshire East is an enforcing Council and that benefit fraud will simply not be tolerated.

“This prosecution is another clear example of this Council taking firm action to protect our local communities from those who criminally abuse the benefits system to line their pockets at the expense of honest, hardworking taxpayers.

“This case shows that we will catch up with these selfish and anti-social fraudsters and they will be brought before the courts to face justice.”

If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, you can ring the confidential freephone fraud hotline on 0800 389 2787. You don’t have to give your name and your call will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, you can report suspected fraud via the Council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Crewe firefighters splashing out for charity

 

Crewe firefighters are splashing out with a car wash at the Crewe Road station on Saturday April 6 in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity.
From 10.00am to 3.00pm the crew will be rolling up their sleeves and taking to buckets and hoses to shine up the cars of Crewe along with providing drivers with vital road safety advice.

Firmly established on the fire and rescue service calendar, the National Car Wash is the charity's largest national fundraising event of the year. Celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, there couldn’t be a better time for motorists to take their car along and have it washed in return for a donation. All funds raised go to The Fire Fighters Charity, the UK’s leading provider of life-enhancing services for serving and retired fire service personnel and their families.

Chair of the Fire Fighters Charity and Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mark Cashin said, “The charity car wash is a great way to not only increase awareness of road safety but also to raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity which has provided assistance to serving and retired firefighters for more than 60 years.

“Unfortunately our firefighters see first hand the tragic consequences of road traffic collisions and I really hope that drivers will go along and support this event as they will not only be helping The Fire Fighters Charity but they will also take away vital road safety advice which could save their lives.”

£1.25m boost to Council’s drive to tackle potholes – and more funding on way

 

Cheshire East Council is to get a huge ‘double cash boost’ to bolster its drive to improve the Borough’s roads.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that Cheshire East’s share of the £103.5m pot to deal with the damage caused by the severe weather of recent months is £1.25m.

This is an emergency payment from the Government to help with road repairs following the wettest winter on record, and will pay for the repair of 3.3 million potholes nationwide.

On top of this money being shared out to councils, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in last week’s Budget that another £200m will be provided for pothole repairs over the financial years 2014-16.

Cheshire East Council’s share of a similar amount over 2013-15 was £2.2m.

The DfT money is being distributed now to ensure that repairs can be started as soon as possible, so that the majority of the damage to be fixed ahead of the summer holidays.

Cheshire East’s highways team is working hard to radically improve the Borough’s highway network and repaired more than 56,000 potholes in 2013. The initial 50,000 target for the year was achieved during the summer.

Councillor David Topping, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of environment, welcomed the news of extra funding and said: “This is welcome news that will give us extra resources to commit to tackling potholes and improving our roads.

“Cheshire East continues to invest in its highways and had already set aside around £1.5m to ensure that the network is kept in a safe and serviceable condition through the year for our residents and visitors. 

“We expect to have to repair around 27,000 potholes per year but, as our investment in improving the highways continues, this number should fall. 

“In addition, the number of customer-reported potholes is down from a peak of 3,640 in Jan 2013, to around 782 in Jan 2014, and also similarly we have seen a significant drop in the number of claims received – down from 270 in Jan 2013, to just 34 in Jan 2014.

“However, there is no room for complacency and we will continue to monitor the roads and prioritise works accordingly.

“The Chancellor’s announcement that all councils will share in a £200m boost to the money available for pothole repairs is more great news for road users and this Council. However, at this time, Cheshire East has not been informed about its share.

“The number of potholes repaired per day varies since it is very much weather dependent and a seasonal activity. The number can rise to 100-plus per day, when we experience rain or freezing conditions.

“The highways team carry out regular safety inspections and any defects recorded are dealt with quickly. Currently, we get around 400 reports of potholes or defects a week – but the number will fall through spring and summer periods.

“In addition, Cheshire East has invested £25m to make major improvements to the condition of the road network, through its Highways Investment Programme. 

“The teams have already successfully delivered £14m of benefits and will be working over the next few months to deliver the remaining £11m.”

To report a pothole or fault on a road, use the online service via the Council’s website at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Alternatively, ring the highways team on 0300 123 5020.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Crewe Mile for Sport Relief.

Reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

The Crewe Mile took place at the Cumberland Arena on Sunday 23rd March 2014 for biennial charity event Sport Relief - http://www.sportrelief.com - which raises money to help vulnerable people in both the UK and the world's poorest countries.

 The Crewe Mile for Sport Relief

One hundred and eighty participants covered either 1, 3 or 6 miles around the Cumberland Arena track. There were people of all ages including a Nordic walker and a runner with her dog. Each finisher received a medal.

Sports Massage students from South Cheshire College http://www.scc.ac.uk/ were on hand to soothe any aches and pains, Cheshire East Council Leisure Development Team https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/leisure,_culture_and_tourism/leisure_facilities.aspx  had a display of ‘Everybody’ gym equipment and ‘Community Recycle Cycles’ https://www.facebook.com/CommunityRecycleCycles promoted their community interest bike shop. There was also face painting and refreshments.

Mayor of Cheshire East Councillor Dorothy Flude and her consort Alex Flude attended the event.

There was also a Swimathon for Sport Relief at Crewe Swimming Pool during the same weekend.

Councillor Dorothy Flude with consort and volunteers

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Cheshire Walking

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

‘Cheshire Walking’ is on the lookout for new members. The group is run by volunteers and there are no fees. All walks are led by members of the group and could be anything from a short stroll to a longer hike.

We encourage members to get involved so you too could lead a walk. We are always looking for new ideas for walks, so feel free to give us some suggestions.

A recent walk took the group along a section of the Shropshire Union Canal to Hurleston Reservoir, then onwards to Henhill Bridge before returning via fields back to Barbridge for a post-walk drink at The Olde Barbridge Inn. A list of future walks is available on the Facebook page.

To join please go direct to the ‘Cheshire Walking’ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/121291244651866/ or search for ‘Cheshire Walking’ within Facebook

Cheshire Walking – Barbridge walk – March 2014

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Police are searching for a prisoner who has escaped whilst being transported through Cheshire.

prison

John Inglesby, aged 28, escaped from a prison van at 5.25pm today (Wednesday 19 March) on the A534 (just prior to junction 17 of the M6) heading towards Sandbach.

He had appeared at Macclesfield Magistrates′ Court this morning charged with aggravated vehicle taking and conspiracy to commit burglary. Inglesby was remanded into custody and was en route to HMP Birmingham at the time.

Inglesby is believed to have fled the scene and approached a property nearby where he threatened the homeowner and stole a white Audi A3 convertible − with a black roof.

Inglesby, who is originally from the Crewe area, is described as being around 5′ 8" tall, with short brown hair and blue eyes. His last known address was in Kirkby, Liverpool.

Extensive enquiries are ongoing to locate Inglesby and police are appealing for anyone with any information regarding his whereabouts to get in touch.

Superintendent John Armstrong said: "Our priority is to locate this man and return him to lawful custody. Whilst we do not believe that Inglesby poses a risk to the public at large, anyone who sees him is urged not to approach him but should call 999 immediately."

Anyone who has any information regarding his whereabouts should call Cheshire Constabulary on 101 quoting incident number 663 of 19 March. Information can also be passed on anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.

Police are appealing for help from the public in tracing a man reported missing in Nantwich.

nantwich

Jez Cox, aged 49, was reported missing by family on 6 March. He was last seen at an address in Park Road, Nantwich, on 1 March. Jez was temporarily staying at the property, which is owned by a friend.

This behaviour is out of character for Jez and police are becoming increasingly concerned for his safety.

Extensive enquiries have been ongoing in a bid to trace Jez - these have included enquiries in the local area and further a field. Jez has links to both Lincolnshire and Leicestershire and his last known address before moving to Nantwich was in Stamford, Lincolnshire.

Police are now appealing to the public for assistance in trying to locate Jez, who is described as 6' tall, of slim build, with grey receding hair and blue eyes.

Chief Inspector Paul Carroll said: "Extensive enquiries are currently being carried out to trace Jez. Police search teams and specialist units including air support are searching key areas in the town in the hope of finding clues that may lead to establishing Jez's whereabouts.

"We are concerned for Jez's welfare as this is completely out of character for him to not be in touch with any friends or family. We have numerous resources committed with the search and we are appealing to anyone who has seen Jez or anyone matching his description to come forward. We are also urging anyone who has any information regarding his current whereabouts to get in touch.

"We are also appealing for Jez himself to make contact with us and let us know he is ok."

Anyone with any information is urged to call Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 794 of 6 March or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Circus in town

reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

The circus came to town from Wednesday 19th March to Sunday 23rd March 2014 when Circus Funtasia - http://www.circusfuntasia.co.uk/ - setup in Nantwich.

The show was a thrilling spectacle under the circus tent within the grounds of Nantwich Town Football Club. Ringmistress Tracy Jones introduced each of the international acts within this all human travelling circus. The circus included acrobats, clowns, a Hula Hoop expert, a high wire act, an aerial straps act, a Cloud Swing act, jugglers and the Wheel of Death. There was comedy along with feats of courage and physical strength. I held my breath on several occasions, particularly during the high wire act and the Wheel of Death, and was in awe at the skill and professionalism of the performers.

Refreshments (including tea, coffee, popcorn, candyfloss, and hot dogs) were available before the performance and during the interval, along with face painting, and children's novelties.

I thoroughly recommend a visit the next time they are in the area. Its on at Tipkinder in Crewe

Circus Funtasia - Nantwich – 19-23 March 2014  (3)

CE treating residents with contempt

Most Cheshire East (CE) residents are punch drunk after being hit with unprecedented number of applications for new houses across the Borough. Amazingly the Conservative leadership of CE, after agreeing major incursions into the Borough's green belt and green gaps to build houses, are making further provision for 500 houses for the adjacent High Peak Council. In other words CE will be allowing 500 houses to be built in CE that High Peak don't want. Surely CE have had enough problems finding their own required 5 year supply of housing land without picking up the responsibilities of adjoining Councils as well?

But it gets worse. CE now has a  memorandum of understanding with Stockport Council that includes an agreement by CE to use its “best endeavours” to secure a site for Stockport’s traveller community. CE  have not yet made sufficient provision for its own traveller community so it beggars belief that CE want to also accommodate travellers from a neighbouring authority.

The political leaders of CE are treating their residents with utter contempt. They make grand statements about protecting  the interests of local people  but they are undermining them at every turn. Residents will be able to express their anger at the way they have been treated at the CE Council elections next year.

Best wishes

Brian Silvester
Cllr Brian Silvester BA (Hons) (Photo attached)

Willaston and Rope Ward UKIP Councillor

Cheshire East Council

11 Rimsdale Close

Rope,Crewe

CW2 6RS

Tel/fax 01270 567757

Twitter @CllrBSilvester

Facebook Cllr Brian Silvester

A Spring Concert

reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

A Spring Concert takes place on Wednesday 2nd April 2014 from 7pm at Willaston Primary School, Derwent Close, Willaston CW5 6QQ. The Concert will feature Wistaston Singers and Willaston Junior Choir. Tickets = £3 adults and £1 children. Tickets are available from the School Office, Tel. 01270 661528.

Willaston Primary School – Spring Concert – Wed 2 April 2014

Council Leader welcomes report boost for HS2 and a strategic transport hub at Crewe

 

The Leader of Cheshire East Council Michael has welcomed a second major report which backs HS2 and calls for the creation of a major strategic transport hub at Crewe.

Councillor Jones said of today’s report by Lord Paul Deighton, chair of the HS2 Growth Taskforce: “This report makes clear that HS2 is a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity that has to be seized and that Crewe is the ‘real deal’.

“It makes clear that Crewe is ‘a natural gateway’ and central to creating a transport hub for road, passenger rail and freight for the North, the Midlands, North Wales and beyond.

“HS2 is an opportunity for transformational change to rebalance and re-energise the economy of UK plc. It will be a catalyst to bring far reaching economic and social benefits – with investment-led, plan-led, jobs-led growth not just in Cheshire East but in the North West and the wider country.

“This is the right strategic solution – not just for Crewe – but for the North and the country as a whole. And we have to act now to get it right. ‘Business as usual’ is not an option – what we need is the transformational change that HS2 and a strategic transport hub at Crewe brings.”

Cllr Jones added: “I welcome the fact that first the Higgins Report recognised the importance of Crewe for unlocking the early benefits of HS2 to the North – and now the Deighton Report gives further substantial weight to these compelling arguments.”

Cllr Jones also welcomed the report’s conclusion that the Government should support local councils to deliver their HS2 growth strategies and provide national co-ordination through a central delivery body (which works with local delivery bodies).

He also backed the recommendation to call on the Government to make railway engineering and advanced construction skills a national priority.

The Deighton Report says: “Crewe is ideally placed to act as a hub station to connect HS2 into the surrounding regions.

“Its strategic importance was recognised by the old London and North Western Railway, which identified that it was the optimal place to build a major junction.”

The report says the extra capacity released by HS2 provides an opportunity to reconfigure services and better utilise the strategic location of Crewe to serve major centres in the North West, such as Liverpool, Warrington and Chester and also Stoke, Stafford and all the local stations which form part of the commute into the bigger cities, supporting regeneration in the process.

The report further says that Crewe is a natural gateway to North Wales. Additional connectivity at Crewe into North Wales also supports the proposed strategic European freight corridor through to Dublin, via Holyhead. This helps to unlock investment in North Wales’ growing advanced-manufacturing sector.

On Monday (March 17) Sir David Higgins, CEO of HS2 Ltd, published a report which called on the Government to speed-up high speed rail delivery and create a strategic transport hub for the North at Crewe.

Sir David said a 43-mile stretch of HS2 to Crewe should be built by 2027, rather than 2033 as planned, to extend the benefits to the North more quickly.

He said there should also be a road, rail and freight transport hub built at Crewe, where the high-speed railway would meet lines to Liverpool, Chester, the Midlands and Wales.

Responding to a comment from Stoke Labour Councillor Andy Platt, who said ‘We are a Premier League city. Unfortunately Crewe is still in the fourth division,

Cllr Jones said: “The Labour Party should stop attacking Crewe and its people.

“But just for their information, just as Crewe has turned out to be an excellent feeder club to the Premier League for many top football stars, so an HS2 superhub at Crewe will be a feeder for the regeneration of whole of the North West – including Stoke.

“It always saddens me when politicians attack places rather than face reality. I would like to think this councillor would own up to his mistake and apologise to the great people of Crewe.”

Appeal for Commonwealth Baton Relay Volunteers

 

Cheshire East Council is looking to recruit volunteers to help support the Commonwealth Baton Relay in Congleton.

2014 Commonwealth Baton Relay

The Queen’s Commonwealth Baton is coming to Cheshire East.

Two years to the day since we hosted the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Congleton Park will be staging the 2014 Commonwealth Baton Relay.

On the 31 May 2012, 242 volunteers supported the safe and successful delivery of the Torch Relay on the roads and streets of Crewe, Congleton, Macclesfield and Knutsford.

This year, we are looking for another team effort to deliver this Commonwealth event.

All volunteers will be recruited, trained and deployed via the Leisure Development Volunteer Programme.

If you are interested in being a part of this event please contact the team via volunteers@cheshireeast.gov.uk alternatively, for more information please contact the Council’s Charlie Maines on 01625 383790.

Training dates have now been confirmed for April. However, spill over sessions for early May are in place as a contingency.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Green waste collection to resume

 

Cheshire East Council’s green waste collection service resumes this week after the winter break.

Residents will be able to put out their green bins on their usual collection days to have their green garden waste removed – free of charge for the first bin and with no increase to the £45-per-year fee for each extra bin.

Cheshire East’s service is set to remain free, although a third of councils already charge for collecting green waste – with many others looking to do so.

As well as saving the Council an expected £1m over four years, the temporary suspension over the winter months will help reduce the council’s carbon footprint, with fewer collection vehicles on the roads over the winter.

Councillor David Topping, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member for environment said: “The green waste collection is popular with residents but we took the decision to suspend collections through the winter because, as fewer people tend their gardens, there is simply less green waste to collect.

“Rather than incur the cost of sending out collection vehicles, which returned half-empty, the savings we’ve made will help us to preserve a free collection at a time when many other councils have brought in charges.

“We recognise that the dates for the suspension caused some problems, as the unseasonably mild weather meant that the leaves fell from the trees later than expected.

“As a result, a full review of the timings of the suspension will be made before we announce the dates for winter 2014/15, taking into account the views we have received from residents.”

On The Right Track

On The Right Track – Council Leader welcomes HS2 boss’s call to speed up high speed rail delivery and create a strategic transport hub for the North at Crewe

Leader of Cheshire East Council Michael Jones has applauded the new boss of HS2’s call to accelerate the extension of high speed rail and create a major strategic transport hub in Crewe.

In a report published today, Sir David Higgins said a 43-mile stretch to Crewe should be built by 2027, rather than 2033, to extend the benefits to the North more quickly.

There should also be a road, rail and freight transport hub built at Crewe, where the high-speed railway would meet lines to Liverpool, Chester, the Midlands and Wales.

Sir David, CEO of HS2 Ltd, who heads the £50 billion HS2 scheme, is advising minsters to speed up the delivery of the scheme, which would currently see a high-speed route opening between London and Birmingham by 2026 with further extensions to Manchester and Leeds by 2033.

However, his proposed revised timetable could see a new transport hub opening in Crewe in 2027 and the remaining links to Manchester and Leeds as early as 2030.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, and chairman of the Local Transport Board, welcomed today’s HS2 report recommendations for Crewe. He said: “This is the right strategic solution – not just for Crewe.

“This is the right solution as Crewe uniquely offers 360-degree connectivity to Wales, the Midlands – including our near neighbour Stoke – the North and beyond to Scotland as well as to the South.

“It would deliver the benefits of HS2 connectivity between north and south – in terms of better services and increased passenger and freight capacity – much sooner.

“Crewe is now firmly on the right track – and we look forward to working with our neighbouring authorities and partners to get the best results for the wider region.

“I now call upon Stoke City Council and Local Enterprise Partnership to join with Cheshire East and make a Crew hub work for both of us.

“Working together is better than being apart and Cheshire East has always said that the Crewe proposals must include jobs and development for Stoke. It’s time we talked. And I am writing to the Leader of Stoke City Council to that end.

“We are pleased that Sir David has seen the rationale and logic of the Crewe hub and the connectivity.

“I am very fortunate to have Crewe with its rich rail history and connectivity and it makes the process easy to push hard – and I’m pleased to see this Conservative vision for Crewe being pushed forward.

“Starting construction in the North earlier is the logical answer to deliver more benefits to more people across the region and beyond and I welcome this being seen as a bigger priority.

“I also welcome Sir David’s call for cross-party political support for the project. Delaying would have costs by impacting on our future economic growth and prosperity.

“HS2 is key to delivering plan-led and jobs led growth, not only in Crewe and Cheshire East, but the North as a whole.

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

Acoustic Alchemy III' gig

Acoustic Alchemy III' gig on Saturday 15th March 2014. reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

An array of talent from Cheshire converged on The Vine pub - http://www.spanglefish.com/thevineshavington/ -  in Shavington for 'Acoustic Alchemy III' on Saturday 15th March 2014. The free acoustic gig consisted of soloists and groups with performances from TJ Lee https://www.facebook.com/tjleesongwriter , We Are Nomad https://www.facebook.com/pages/We-Are-Nomad/335875659865600 , Oli Ng https://www.facebook.com/olingmusic , Jordan Cope http://www.jordancope.co.uk/ , and United Breaks https://www.facebook.com/unitedbreaksuk .

United Breaks headlined the evening with Neil Smith on guitar/lead vocals, Nick Bayes on bass guitar, Tim Kirwin on saxophone, and Tom Seals on keyboard. United Breaks played a thirteen track setlist which climaxed with Doobie Brothers Long Train Running, Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode and Stevie Wonder's Superstition.

A packed audience was treated to a quality evening of entertainment.

Organiser and frontman of United Breaks Neil Smith said, "We had a great night of entertainment which highlighted the amount of local music talent. I would like to thank everyone for attending the event and The Vine for being so supportive."

Jordan Cope

Nantwich Pool officially reopens

Reporter J  White

Nantwich Pool was officially reopened on Saturday 15th March 2014 after a £1.4 million redevelopment.

There were speeches from Councillor Janet Clowes (Cheshire East Council) and Keith Pickton (Leisure Facilities Manager, Cheshire East Council), and an inspiring talk by special guest Joe Townsend. Joe cut the ribbon to officially open the new Centre and gave a demonstration of the new Matrix Fitness equipment (www.matrixfitness.co.uk). Joe is a Royal Marines Commando who lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan and is now a member of the British Paratriathlon squad, an endurance athlete, a qualified personal trainer and is also studying a strength and conditioning science BSc.

Joe Townsend cuts the ribbon outside the centre in front of dignitaries and guestsJoe Townsend gives a demonstration of the Matrix Fitness equipment

The refurbished centre features a new bigger Everybody Fitness Suite with the latest Matrix Fitness equipment, a new multi-purpose fitness studio and meeting/training room, improved changing facilities including a family changing area, and improvements to the reception area including better access. Nantwich indoor pool officially opened in 1976, so to celebrate it’s relaunch all swims and classes were the original price of 10p for the day.

There were also numerous local exhibitors showcasing their expertise including UK Triathlon Events, Nantwich Museum, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Cheshire East Citizens Advice Bureau, CTC Healthcare, Healthwatch Cheshire East, CVS Cheshire East, and The Royal Life Saving Society UK. 

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Spring Concert

Reporter John White,

You are invited to a Spring Concert on Saturday 29th March 2014 at the Wistaston Memorial Hall, Church Lane, Wistaston. The Concert will be performed by the Crewe Concert Band - http://www.cwecb.co.uk - and will start at 7:30pm. Tickets = £6. For further details please contact John White Tel: 01270 661484 or Eileen Robertson Tel: 01270 625175.

Crewe Concert Band - Sat 29 March 2014

Benefits cheat ordered to repay more than £5,350 and do 200 hours’ unpaid community work

 

A woman who fraudulently claimed more than £5,300 in benefits has been ordered by magistrates to repay the money and do 200 hours’ of unpaid community work.

Dawn Birch, 40, of Albert Cottages, Crewe Road, Sandbach, pleaded guilty at South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court to four charges of making false representations in relation to her claims for jobseekers allowance, housing benefit, Council Tax benefit and discretionary housing payments, and to two charges of failing to promptly report a change in circumstance in relation to her claims for housing benefit and Council Tax benefit.

Magistrates sitting at Crewe heard (on Wednesday March 5) that Birch claimed housing and Council Tax benefits in November 2011 on the basis that she and her partner were out of work. However, investigators from Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud team found that Birch’s partner had started work in May 2011, and that they had also moved out of their property in September 2011.

Birch failed to report these changes and continued to receive both housing and Council Tax benefit until January 2012. She also submitted a false claim for discretionary housing payment in June 2011.

Birch made a claim for further financial help with her housing costs from the limited fund run by the Council to provide support to those in exceptional hardship on the basis that she and her partner had a low income – but failed to advise her partner was in fact in paid work.

Birch then made further claims to housing benefit, Council Tax benefit and jobseekers’ allowance in February 2012, but investigators found, in May 2012, that her partner had started work again in April 2012. 

She had also submitted a further false claim for discretionary housing payment two weeks after he actually started work in April 2012 based on out-of-work benefits. Birch also made false statements to the Council and the Department for Work and Pensions in relation to the date that her partner started work.

Magistrates imposed a Community Order requiring Birch to do 200 hours’ unpaid work. Birch was further ordered to pay costs of £250, a victim surcharge of £60 and a compensation order was granted for collection of the overpaid benefit.

The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud investigation team and legal team.

Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “This prosecution is yet another example of this Council taking firm action to protect our local communities from those who criminally abuse the benefits system at the expense of honest taxpayers.

“It also reinforces the clear message from this authority that Cheshire East is an enforcing Council and that benefit fraud will simply not be tolerated.

“We have shown once again that we will catch up with these offenders and that we are fully committed to ensuring these selfish and anti-social fraudsters are brought to justice.”

If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, you can ring the confidential freephone fraud hotline on 0800 389 2787. You don’t have to give your name and your call will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, you can report suspected fraud via the Council’

TURKISH VISA CHANGES TO BOOST CREWE’S THE TRAVEL VISA COMPANY

The Travel Visa Company is urging travellers to purchase their Turkish visa well in advance of visiting the country

Crewe Hall-based, The Travel Visa Company is urging travellers to prepare well in advance before visiting Turkey, due to a change in the visa requirements that will come into effect from 10 April 2014.

The company, which boasts the title as the ‘preferred visa specialists’ for travel companies such as TUI, Thomas Cook and The Co-operative Travel Group, has already seen a surge in enquiries since the announcement of the changes earlier this year and is set to see an influx in application requests over the next six months.

Karen Taylor, co-founder of The Travel Visa Company, comments:  “The introduction of the new Turkish visa is set to cause some confusion this year with both tourists and corporate travellers.

“It is extremely important that all travellers are made aware of the change before the date of travel as it will only result in extremely high fees to buy the visa at the airport. The visa process takes a couple of days and can be quite complicated, but our team of visa specialists here in Crewe, and in our Manchester office, can organise everything from payment to postage.

“Travellers must also be wary of online companies who are charging above the odds for the visas as they may not be a reputable supplier and have little knowledge of the visa industry. In some cases it can result in application forms being filled out incorrectly or visas not even received by the customer.”

The Travel Visa Company has a turnover of over £1.2 million and an unrivalled reputation of supplying effective and efficient visa applications to both business and tourist travellers.

It has 14 years experience of providing tourist visas and longstanding relationships with Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

Specialising in both tourist and business travel to India, China, Russia and Africa, the Travel Visa Company, founded by Karen Taylor and Ray Ward in 2005, currently employs 15 staff at its Cheshire head office in Crewe.

For further information on Turkish Visas or on The Travel Visa Company, visit www.thetravelvisacompany.co.uk or call: 01270 250 590.

Crewe West Election

 

Labour candidate Kevin Hickson has been elected to Cheshire East Council as councillor for the ward of Crewe West.

The election was held yesterday (Thursday, March 13) and the full results are as follows:

Chris Curran – Independent – 159 votes;

Kevin Arthur Hickson – Labour – 720 votes (elected);

Robert John Icke – Liberal Democrat – 55 votes;

Richard Alan Lee – UK Independence Party – 386; and

Chris Waling – Conservative – 122 votes.

There were four spoiled votes with a turnout of 19 per cent.

The election was caused by the death of Labour Councillor Peter Nurse, aged 78, on January 3, 2014.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Business Networking with a Sporting Twist

 

Rio 2016 Olympic hopeful Chris Russell gave networking a sporting twist at a special seminar for business leaders on Monday (March 10th).

The Olympic Laser Class sailor gave a special talk to 40 members of West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce at the Quay Hotel & Spa, Deganwy, focusing on the lessons businesses can learn from sport.

As well as Chris’ presentation and subsequent question and answer session, members enjoyed a delicious champagne and canapé reception in the hotel’s spectacular conferencing facilities overlooking the River Conwy.

Debbie Stokes, Membership Manager for West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce said: “Our members enjoyed a wonderful afternoon at the Quay Hotel & Spa, made even better as summer sunshine made a very early appearance. We’d like to thank Chris and the team at the Quay Hotel & Spa for hosting the event and we look forward to coming back in future.

“I’d also like to thank Marie-Claire Ashcroft from Fluke Photography for capturing all the smiling faces at the event so perfectly. You can find out more about Marie-Claire’s work and services at www.flukephotography.co.uk.”

Fiona Gresty, Business Development Manager at the Quay Hotel & Spa said: “It was a wonderful event and we were delighted to welcome members of the Chamber and Chris to the hotel. It gave us a fantastic opportunity to showcase the hotel and our conferencing facilities to host of new people.”

For further details about the Quay Hotel & Spa, contact Fiona on 01492 564100 or email her on fiona.gresty@quayhotel.co.uk.

Cheshire East in investment to secure hi-tech jobs and future economic growth

 

Cheshire East Council is set to invest in the Alderley Park bio-science hub to help secure both hi-tech jobs and the site's position as a world-class economic powerhouse.

The site is to be sold by AstraZeneca to Manchester Science Parks (MSP). Cheshire East Council is proposing to buy a 10 per cent stake in the project and place a three per cent investment in MSP.

It follows the announcement, last March, that AstraZeneca was to cease its R&D work at Alderley Park. Through negotiations with the Government and the Leader of Cheshire East Council, AstraZeneca agreed to retain 700 jobs on the site but removed 2,300 R&D staff, with 1,100 of these R&D roles moved to a new site in Cambridge. It later emerged the site would be sold.

Leader of Cheshire East Council Councillor Michael Jones said today: “This is a vindication of a year of co-ordinated, cross-boundary, Task Force-led, MP-supported innovative action with AstraZeneca to save Alderley Park and jobs.

“Last March, AstraZeneca announced it was moving its UK-based R&D and world HQ to a new site in Cambridge and removing some 2,300 jobs from its nearly 3,000-strong workforce from Alderley Park, with 700 staying at the site.

“Since then the Council and the AstraZeneca bio-hub team, working with local partners have developed the hub to entice 20 companies into the site, bringing about 500 jobs on board – and a further 1,000 jobs in the pipeline.

“What is unique about this opportunity is that it’s not only a centre with vast facilities but also a centre with significant hi-tech equipment in place, unique infrastructure and a ready supply of highly-skilled workers.

“This is a national centre, if not a European centre, for bio-sciences and I am delighted that the new owners are fully engaged with the vision for the bio-hub and Alderley Park.

“By investing alongside key public sector partners, such as Manchester City Council and the Manchester universities, Cheshire East is sending out a clear message to the Government that it fully supports Alderley Park and puts working innovatively and collaboratively at the heart of its economic policies to deliver increasing prosperity for all the people of Cheshire East – and value for money for our local taxpayers.”

Councillor Jones added: “This is exactly the sort of thing that enterprising local authorities should be doing. Alderley Park was a global centre for cancer research and bio-sciences and is of paramount importance to the local and regional economy – contributing some £315m a year to the economy of Cheshire East, supporting directly more than 3,000 highly-skilled jobs at its peak and contributing about £4m in business rates alone.

“The significance of Alderley Park to both the local and regional economy cannot be overstated and, as a Council, we are committed and determined to work with our partners to help secure its future in order that it continues to be a world-class centre for bio-science business and jobs.

“This announcement by Cheshire East Council today shows our long-term commitment to the site and to acting innovatively to securing jobs-led growth.

“Under my leadership, Cheshire East Council has been working hard, in partnership with others, to help build a strong future for Alderley Park as a world-class bio-science hub.

“It is really gratifying to see another big step forward for Alderley Park towards achieving this – and all this less than a year since the creation of the Task Force, led by the government and including Cheshire East, to secure the site's future.

“We now look forward to working with MSP to ensure the Alderley Park bio-science hub becomes a powerhouse that leads the way, not just in Britain but globally – and delivers future-proof jobs, growth and innovative technologies for the North West and UK plc.”

The Task Force, which includes Cheshire East Council, is currently working closely with Government to identify public sector investment opportunities and has recently supported a Regional Growth Fund bid to secure funding.

By investing its own resources in Alderley Park, Cheshire East Council is sending a clear message to Government that it fully supports Alderley Park and this could secure additional public sector funding in the medium and longer term.

A clear vision for the site has been developed to secure its vibrant and prosperous future through its transformation to an independent, self-sustaining world-class hub for life sciences – acting as an anchor for the sector in the North West region.

Councillor Jones added: “The turning round of the disaster that could have been at Alderley Park has been further supplemented by AstraZeneca’s investment in its Hurdsfield site. This further exemplifies why Alderley Park is unique in having not only its own facilities but also being in a hi-tech corridor – from Waters’ world leading mass spectrometer site in Wilmslow, to AstraZeneca’s manufacturing operation in Hurdsfield – which is home to some of the worlds leading science businesses.

“We have worked hard to achieve this result and this is just the beginning of a very exciting future, which the new owners are suggesting could lead to the creation of up to 5,000 jobs – and I support this.

“I am pleased to work with my colleagues in Manchester City Council, very excited to be working with the Manchester universities and like being cross-regional in approach. It shows London that the North West is getting its act together.” 

Twenty companies are currently located at the Alderley Park Bio-Hub with a growing number of companies showing interest.

The bio-hub has already filled its allotted (by AstraZeneca) space at Alderley Park and AstraZeneca has agreed to release an additional 50,000sq ft of space to meet demand.

The sale of the site is due to be concluded by March 31, with both parties currently finalising legal and financial arrangements.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

‘Make a difference to a child’s life’ urges Council during North West Adoption Week

 

Adopt North West – a collaboration between 22 of the region’s local authorities – has just launched a major new adoption recruitment campaign as part of the first ever North West Adoption Week.

The core message – ‘you can adopt’ – focuses on busting the myths around adoption. A TV, radio and online advertising campaign, which is running this week, aims to overcome common misconceptions which mean that some people - incorrectly - rule themselves out of becoming adoptive parents.

The campaign will highlight that it’s possible to adopt regardless of whether you’re single, over 50, already have biological children, gay, in full-time employment, a religious believer or whether or not you own your own home.

Adopt North West has been created to help to find ‘forever families’ for all the 623 children currently awaiting adoption in the region, and hopes to get adults thinking about adopting a child or children.

The campaign has the backing of Crewe MP Edward Timpson, the minister for children and families, who has two adopted younger brothers and whose parents have fostered nearly 90 children over the past 30 years.

Welcoming the initiative, he said: "With 6,000 children waiting to be adopted right now we want people from all walks of life to think about whether they could provide happy and stable homes. Adopt North West is doing fantastic work to encourage more people in the North West to consider adoption, making a real difference to these vulnerable children’s lives.

"We’re overhauling adoption, to make it swifter and more effective and robust. We are also making it much easier for adopters - launching the First4Adoptioninfoline (0300 222 0022) and the Adoption Passport which provides all the information and advice they need in one place, as well as introducing a new £19.3 million support fund to help parents access specialist services.”

Adopt North West has also received the backing of some of the region’s favourite famous faces, including DJ Clint Boon, comedian Justin Moorhouse and Ellie Leach (who plays Coronation Street’s Faye Windass). Each celebrity has volunteered their time to appear in a short video that helps bust the most common adoption myths, which can be viewed online at www.adoptnorthwest.co.uk

Launching the campaign in the borough, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for children and families, Councillor Rachel Bailey said: “Adoption gives people the chance to not only change their own life, but to transform a child’s life too. The campaign is all about encouraging people to look at adoption in those terms and to increase their understanding of what is involved.”

Tony Crane, Cheshire East Council’s director of children’s services added: “There are many misconceptions people have about adoption and whether or not they are eligible. If you feel passionately that all children deserve a ‘forever family’ then seriously consider adoption and use the website to find out more.”

To find out more or to register for more information, visit: www.adoptnorthwest.co.uk, call 0333 400 1230 or text Adopt to 83118.

Put your best foot forward and ‘Walk the Walk’ for the Mayor

 

The Mayor of Cheshire East Council is asking for volunteers to don their walking shoes to help raise money for her nominated charities: Blind Veterans UK and NSPCC Rainbow House in Crewe.

Cheshire East Council Mayor Councillor Dorothy Flude is supporting ‘Walk the Walk,’ a 3.5 mile trip across Crewe on April. 13 which as well as raising money for the Mayor’s good causes is helping to raise awareness of walking as a healthy, money-saving way of making short journeys while reducing damaging Co2 emissions and traffic congestion.

“We’re so used to driving, even for short journeys, that we sometimes don’t realise how close together places actually are and how quickly we can make the journey on foot” she said.

She added: “I think this is a great opportunity for families and friends to walk together and discover alternative ways to travel around the town. The NHS recommends that we all walk 10,000 steps a day to stay in good health and many of us get nowhere near this amount of exercise every day, so joining the walk will be a good place for people to start.”

‘Walk the Walk’ is being supported by Smarter Ways to Travel – a Department for Transport project which is encouraging sustainable travel in Crewe and inviting participants to travel sustainably to and from the event.

The walk begins and ends in the town centre, close to the bus station. People cycling in will be treated to free bike security marking by Cheshire Police plus Dr Bike health checks and free travel advice.

South Cheshire Ramblers will be helping to lead the walk, which is open to all (although under-16s need to be accompanied by an adult).

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

MP’s 148th bulletin

Edward Timpson MP

Monday, 10 March 2014

Welcome

Welcome to this, my 148th news bulletin.

As a Member of Parliament you receive a lot of correspondence, with people’s views on all sorts of policy areas. It is a political truth that more people write to raise concerns than to congratulate, so it is always good to receive positive feedback on a policy.

One such policy has been welfare reform. I think this is for the simple reason that most people in Crewe and Nantwich realise that work pays, and those who do work do not believe that they should be paying for those who can, but choose not to.  In line with that view the Government has had a number of important wins. We have been:

  • Getting people back to work with our Work Programme. We have set up the largest programme to get people into work since the 1930s. The Work Programme pays by results with jobcentres incentivised to get people into long-term work.
  • Supporting young people into work with our Youth Contract. We have set up the £1bn Youth contract to get young people onto the job ladder.

The results are there for all to see. The most recent employment figures show that:

  • Unemployment is down 125,000 this quarter
  • It is down 152,000 since the Labour Government left office. This means that there are 152,000 more people with the security of a wage who are able to meet their obligations and provide for their family.

In Crewe and Nantwich unemployment is down by 21.7% on the last year, and youth unemployment by almost a quarter.
Welfare reform is a fair way of achieving these employment goals. We are:

  • Capping the overall amount an out of work household can get in benefits. So that people cannot claim in benefits more than most earn in work, we are capping the overall amount of benefits to £26,000 a year, in line with the average wage after tax.
  • Making sure that benefits don’t rise more quickly than wages. Most benefit levels have risen twice as fast as average wages since the financial crisis. We have capped the increase to 1% to match public sector pay.
  • Fixing the welfare system to make sure work always pays. We are rolling complex benefits into one simple payment, the universal credit, to make sure that people are always better off by taking on more work.

This is ambitious. It is difficult to achieve. And it is common sense. The Labour Party like to criticise welfare reform, but they have a selective memory.

Labour punished work, and hardworking people lost over £9 of every extra £10 they earned. The benefit system was so complicated that for some people, there was no point in working more because they would lose more in benefits than they would earn in work.

Labour also watched while the number of people on social housing waiting lists nearly doubled. The number rose to 4.5 million people, many of whom had no realistic chance of being allocated a home. They let the housing benefit bill spiral out of control, and they still have no answer to how they would pay for the reversal of our policy of making spare rooms available to other social housing tenants who actually need them to live in.

In England alone, just under a quarter of a million households in the social sector are over-crowded, while 386,000 social sector households have at least one spare room.

Even after the reform we pay over 80% of most claimants’ housing benefit, but the taxpayer can no longer afford to pay for people to live in properties larger than they need. It is right that people contribute to these costs, just as private renters do. This is about ensuring fairness to those in overcrowded accommodation, those on the waiting list, those in the private sector, and importantly, the taxpayer.

Cheshire East Council have been allocated over £450,000 to help people affected by changes to housing benefit in 2013/14 and have already made 335 payments. You can read more online about these payments at the Cheshire East website.

The bottom line is this. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with claiming benefits, if you need them. I frequently help constituents in claiming benefits they are properly entitled to through my regular advice surgeries.

But I want all of my constituents to work if they can. This makes for a successful and thriving local economy that companies want to invest in. I don’t want those who do work to be subsidising those who can, but can’t be bothered.

I also want good quality social housing to be available for those who need it. Not blocked up with those taking up unnecessary space at the taxpayer’s expense, unless they are going to contribute to the cost of building more through increased rent.

That’s fairness. That’s what I stand for. And I’m glad so many of my constituents are with me on this.

Edward Timpson

Edward Timpson MP
Member of Parliament for Crewe and Nantwich and Minister of the Year

Please remember, you can always contact me directly if you have any questions for me, or if there is anything I can do to assist you.

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Locally, I have...

On Your Street in Haslington
  • Visited the Wyche Primary School Enterprise Club's market stall (pictured, right).  Held on Saturday in Nantwich town centre, the Enterprise Club's stall sold a range of mugs, key-rings and pendants, all designed and sold by the children, to raise funds for art and computer equipment.
  • Met with the "peer mentors" at Leighton Academy, who have won Diana Awards two years running for their anti-bullying work.
  • Welcomed Transport Minister Baroness Kramer to Crewe, where she met with local councillors and rail champion Pete Waterman. Together, we are campaigning for an HS2 'superhub' for Crewe.
  • Helped present a cheque to Stick'n'Step cerebral palsy charity, with young Crewe fundraiser Stevie Bradshaw.  Stevie, who has cerebral palsy herself, has raised £1,192 by completing a sponsored swim, an amount that Sean Pattinson of Grenson Motors in Crewe topped up to £1,600.
  • Held two of my regular constituency advice surgeries, where I can offer advice and assistance to any Crewe and Nantwich resident who needs help with a matter of concern to them.  If you need to book an appointment to speak to me, my contact details are below.
  • Attended the 'Chatterbox' parents forum at Malbank School, to talk about the issues that are facing them and their families.

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Photo News

Photo - Edward Timpson MP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rail community pulls together

I met with station managers and staff at Crewe Station after last month's storms to extend thanks on behalf of the whole community to the team who did so much to get the trains running after the station was damaged in the bad weather.

You can view all of my latest photos on my website.

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Community News

Winners' joy at Crewe & Nantwich Community Awards 2014

Nantwich News: Big-hearted volunteers and fundraisers celebrated after being named winners in the Crewe and Nantwich Community Awards 2014.

The awards, organised by Nantwich-based The Cat Community Radio Station, were held at Richmond Village.

They are designed to give recognition to local people who dedicate their time helping others.

Winners of the awards include Elizabeth Chesters, for Long Service to the Community; Ray of Hope UK for Local Volunteer of the Year; Crewe Alexandra goalkeeper Steve Phillips for Local Fundraiser of the Year; Bethany Daley for Young Person of the Year; and Sean Savage for Achievement of the Year.

More than 60 people attended the black tie event which included a three-course meal and entertainment from local duo Baxter.

Nominations were made by local people, and winners decided by a panel consisting of MP Edward Timpson, Debbie Owens of Crewe Lions, John Weir from Nantwich LAP and Alison Harding from Richmond Village.

Organiser of the event Claire Faulkner said: “I am so proud of everybody who was nominated.

“The high level of entries this year goes to show that as a community, we value everybody who tries to make a difference or volunteers their time to help others.

“The evening is about celebrating the achievements of everybody in our community and thanking them for all that they do.”

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Transport Minister weighs up Crewe superhub bid

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Crewe Chronicle: TRANSPORT Minister Baroness  Kramer paid a visit to Crewe Railway Station and the proposed site for the HS2 superhub at Crewe. The visit comes ahead of a final  decision later this year on the HS2  route and any additional new stations.

The Liberal Democrat Peer said she was “delighted to visit the site” and praised the “passion” of Cheshire East  Council leader Michael Jones and avid HS2 supporter, Pete Waterman, who is a board member of the Warrington and Cheshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Together with Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson, they are spearheading the Crewe superhub bid.

The minister was taken on a tour of the current station as well as the proposed site of the HS2 superhub, south of the current station.

Baroness Kramer told the Chronicle the purpose of her visit had been to see Crewe and the proposed station site for herself. She was also adamant no decision had been made about the Crewe bid - or any other bid - and there would be no announcement until the end of the year.

“When people respond to a consultation you get a real understanding of the community and the potential,” said the Transport Minister, speaking at Crewe Station.  “The Secretary of State will make an announcement towards the end of the year but  I find it very helpful to come out and see the  situation on the ground. It helps to clarify the  issue.”

Cheshire East Council, together with MP Edward Timpson and Pete Waterman, have been campaigning for a superhub station at  Crewe since details of the Government’s preferred HS2 route was first announced.

Cheshire East submitted its bid recently.

Baroness Kramer said there had been various interesting bids for new stations and ‘not  everyone will end up happy’.

She said it’s important to use HS2 not just as a means of getting from A to B but to use it to underpin economic growth.

When pressed about the strength of the Crewe bid, the Baroness said: “It’s important  that we look at the consultation without closed minds and don’t make snap judgments.”

Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson, who also held talks with Baroness Kramer during her visit on Thursday, said: “It’s  fantastic to have Baroness Kramer here to see for herself both the station and the  proposed site.”

Mr Timpson, who has been working behind the scenes, said the bid put forward by Cheshire East and himself for an HS2 station  for Crewe ‘is a no-brainer’ not just because of the excellent connectivity but also because of the town’s ability to provide workers with the expertise, not just for construction but for  ongoing maintenance.

“It would be good for Crewe and the surrounding area,” said the Conservative MP.

You can read the full story at the Crewe Chronicle website.

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Praise for Crewe Station staff following swift evacuation

Crewe Chronicle: CREWE and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson has praised rail services and emergency services for their swift response in getting to passengers to safety after part of  the station roof blew off in severe gale force winds.

Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson said: "My office has spoken both to the station manager and the regional manager for Virgin Trains, who are to be congratulated, along with their staff, for getting the situation under control so smoothly.

"I am also grateful to the Crewe Arms Hotel for taking in evacuated passengers. This shows our rail community pulling together in time of need.

"I have promised Virgin every assistance in getting the building repaired swiftly, should my help be required."

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MP welcomes job figures

Crewe Chronicle: Edward Timpson MP has welcomed statistics that show the Government's economic plan has helped get 7,500 young people off benefits in the North West over the past year.

Crewe and Nantwich itself has seen a 24.1% fall in youth unemployment in the last year.  Edward Timpson said: "Here in Crewe and Nantwich we have seen a fall in youth unemployment of almost a quarter in the same period. That means 7,500 more people receiving a regular pay packet, learning a profession or getting the training they need to give themselves a more secure future.

"Of course there is still more to do, but these figures show that the long-term plan to fix the economy is working, getting people off benefits and into work - delivering a more secure future for young people in Crewe and Nantwich who want to work hard and get on in life."

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And the business capital of the UK is...

Crewe has been named one of the top twenty places in the UK to start and run a business, by Experian research, published this week.  Crewe is the only town in the North West to make the list.

The Daily Telegraph: "The information services company rated the towns and cities across the UK on four criteria: the number of start-ups; rate of insolvencies; the level of financial health; and turnover growth compared with 2012. Northampton had the highest overall score, closely followed by Southall in south east London, Aberdeen and Bristol.

"Towns in the South of England accounted for 65pc of the top 20, with only Crewe and York representing the North, while from Scotland, only Aberdeen made the top ranking. There were no top 20 entries from Wales or Northern Ireland."

You can read the full article on the Telegraph website.

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5 ways to contact Edward Timpson

Crewe & Nantwich

Cheshire East flies the flag for Commonwealth celebration

 

Cheshire East Council held a ceremony today to celebrate Commonwealth Fly the Flag Day.

The Commonwealth Flag was raised outside the authority’s Westfields HQ in Sandbach at 10am today (Monday, March 10), which is Commonwealth Day.

The aim was to help support the intention to get hundreds of Commonwealth flags flown at significant, strategic and eye-catching sites across the UK and beyond. Many are expected to flutter proudly through until the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, which runs from July 23 to August 4.

The flag flying helps to celebrate the true values of the Commonwealth as an increasingly multi-cultural world seeks unity, understanding and tolerance.

Leader of Cheshire East Council Councillor Michael Jones and Cheshire East Mayor Councillor Dorothy Flude led the ceremony at Westfields.

Councillor Jones said in his address: “Joining together as members of one worldwide Commonwealth community, and valuing the personal dignity and worth of every citizen, we raise this flag as a symbol of the ties of kinship and affinity we cherish.

“We affirm our commitment to upholding the values set out in the Commonwealth Charter, to serving one another in a spirit of respect and understanding and to advancing development, democracy and co-operation locally, nationally and internationally.”

The gathered audience responded: “Our pledge is to support the Commonwealth, working together for a future in which there is freedom and justice and prosperity for all, with peace and understanding between peoples and nations.”

Monday, 10 March 2014

Charity concert

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

A charity concert in aid of Wistaston Rose Queen Naomi Barker’s chosen charity - Alder Hey Children's Charity http://www.alderheycharity.com/ - took place on the evening of Saturday 8th March 2014 at St Mary's Church Hall, Church Lane, Wistaston.

Five-piece Liverpool band ‘Ukebox’ http://www.ukeboxband.com/ played a set featuring an eclectic range of music including Mumford & Sons, Johnny Cash, ELO, George Formby, Rihanna and Pharrell Williams. The band formed in 2012 and had the audience up on their feet and clapping and singing along to their tunes. There was a raffle during the interval which was drawn by Wistaston Rose Queen Naomi Barker and her Attendant Poppy Bellingham. Refreshments were available throughout the evening. The concert was followed by a disco.

A full house of one hundred and forty people enjoyed the event which raised £865 for Alder Hey.

Co-organiser Howard Barker said, "What a brilliant concert, Ukebox were loved by everyone. My thanks to all our volunteers and to Cheerbrook Farm Shop for their delicious pork pies."

Wistaston Rose Queen Naomi Barker said, "It was a great night and I'm really pleased so many people came.”

Charity concert - Sat 8 March 2014 - Ukebox perform on stageCharity concert - Sat 8 March 2014 - Ukebox and audience

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Witters Field

Reporter J White

Gladman have appealed against Cheshire East's decision to refuse planning permission for their application to build up to 300 dwellings on 'Witter's Field' in Wistaston, so the case will now go before the planning inspector for a decision: http://www.pcs.planningportal.gov.uk/pcsportal/ViewCase.asp?caseid=2213505&coid=82560 .

I’ve also attached a scan of the associated letter I received this week from Cheshire East Council. 

Objections to the proposal included the increase in traffic to the Middlewich Road and Church Lane areas along with the remainder of Wistaston, the reduction in open space and recreation areas for exercise and social gathering, the impact on places in existing local primary schools such as Wistaston Church Lane Primary School, the lack of a secondary school on the plans with local secondary schools already at capacity, the impact on existing local health facilities and the general blight of an urban expanse in a currently rural setting. 

Gladman appeal to Witters Field

Message from Inspector Christian Watkins

 

As we move into 2014, we continue to involve ourselves with our communities to understand what they feel are the priorities for the local police, and for us to address and deal with issues that affect them. It is on this basis that neighbourhood policing is a joint effort between police officers and PCSO’s, members of our communities, Cheshire East and other supporting agencies. Partnership working and long term problem-solving is at the heart of what we do, and we continue to encourage this way of working to achieve long term, sustainable solutions to crime and disorder affecting our community.

By remaining vigilant we can help stop crime before it occurs. This is particularly relevant when it comes to burglaries and car crime, which we are succesfully reducing in our area. If you see people acting suspiciously around your property or your neighbours, ring the police on 101 without delay.

-Inspector Christian Watkins

Driving Down Drug Crime

Disrupting and dismantling drug dealing and use in Crewe remains a priority. This month officers from Crewe NPU have executed a warrant for drugs or drug related offences every week, acting on police intelligence and information supplied to us by the public which is vital in piecing together drug related criminal activity. Warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act were carried out on the Brookhouse Drive and Leighton estates this month where varying amounts of cannabis were seized.

Prolific Offenders Arrested

Two prolific offenders were re-arrested this month for failing to abide by their terms of release from prison. 42 year old Mark Burgess, previously of Meredith St in Crewe, and Timor Turnock, 24, previously of Barker St, Crewe, have been returned to prison following their arrests by local officers.

Two Arrested Following Thefts From Cars

Police continue to remind car owners to be vigilant and ensure their cars and vans are locked and secure. Two men have been arrested and appeared at Court in connection with the recent spate of thefts in the area. 35 year old John Healey of Richard St, Crewe and 34 year old Aaron Martin of Broad St Crewe, appeared before South Cheshire Magistrates charged with handling stolen goods. The case continues.

Specials & Volunteers Put Their Best Foot Forward

Police volunteers and Special Constables are continuing to be a welcome and valuable resource to the local Crewe Neighbourhood Policing Unit. Working alongside regular officers and PCSO’s, they are gaining valuable experience in all matters of policing and integrating within the local community. Inspector Watkins said “The value of Specials and volunteers, including police cadets, cannot be underestimated. They also provide a worthwhile insight into the communities we serve, bringing with them their experience and knowledge from their ‘day jobs’ or education.”

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Scams

We always advise anyone who suspects a scam, or who has been the victim of a scam, to report it to the police on www.actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040.  However, it is always better to take preventative action where possible and it is good to know what to look for to avoid being taken in, as well as to advise friends and family members when necessary.


The charity Think Jessica (www.thinkjessica.com) provides a lot of useful advice about scams.  Their 12-page booklet, 'Scam mail is blackmail', is particularly useful and covers: lottery and prize draw scams, clairvoyant scams, catalogue scams, courier scams, bank / building society scams and more.  You can order a free hard copy of this booklet by writing to:
Think Jessica
PO Box 4442
Chesterfield S44 9AS
(Please enclose a 2nd class stamp)
Or by emailing advice@thinkjessica.com.


They also provide information packs, including a DVD, which cost £7 per pack, and free downloadable posters which you can access at www.thinkjessica.com/posters.htm.
For a cost they will supply bulk orders to a group or organisation, which can be personalised with your logo and local contact details if you wish - contact Think Jessica at the address above or on advice@thinkjessica.com to discuss your requirements.

Firelink


Welcome to the March edition of the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service e-Newsletter.


Smoke Alarms - a small change to save lives


Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is campaigning to make it a legal requirement for all landlords to fit smoke alarms in their properties.
You are four times more likely to die as a result of a house fire if you do not have a working smoke alarm. Rented properties are more likely not to have a working smoke alarm and local data shows us that those living in rented homes are at a higher risk.
Find out more about Smoke Alarms - a small change to save lives

Automatic Fire Alarms: Our Response


In a single year Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service responded to more than 2,500 Automatic Fire Alarms. On 99% of occasions these were avoidable false alarms caused by either a faulty system or an accidental activation for example as a result of cooking fumes.
False alarms cost businesses time and money. They also divert firefighters from genuine emergencies and other duties. We are committed to reducing the number of these false alarms and so have adopted a policy around how we respond to Automatic Fire Alarms.
Find out more about our response to automatic fire alarms

Your views wanted on draft plans for a new fire station and safety centre in Lymm


Draft plans and designs for the proposed new fire station and safety centre in Lymm have been unveiled by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The proposal is to build the new fire station and safety centre on Cliff Lane (at the former truck stop site) in Lymm.
Your views wanted on draft plans for a new fire station and safety centre in Lymm

Change your clocks and check your smoke alarms


The clocks go forward at 01:00am on Sunday 30th March 2014 - as summer time officially starts.
When you change your clocks, please check your smoke alarms too.
Change your clocks and check your smoke alarms for the the start of British Summer time

Home Safety Week 2014


Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the Chief Fire Officers' Association (CFOA) UK Home Safety Week from 24th to 30th March 2014.
UK Home Safety Week is focusing on the importance of fitting smoke alarms in your home.
Find our more about Home Safety Week 2014

No Smoking Day 2014


No Smoking Day is taking place on 12th March 2014.
It is vital that smokers understand how dangerous smoking at home can be for their family and those they live with. Tobacco is designed to stay lit so cigarettes and cigars can easily start an accidental fire, especially if you are sleepy or have been drinking alcohol.
Find out more about No Smoking Day 2014

Business Continuity Awareness Week


This year Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting Business Continuity Awareness Week (17th to 21st March 2014), which aims to raise the awareness of business continuity.
The theme for the week is 'Counting the Cost' and this theme is designed to demonstrate the potential cost of not having an effective business continuity management system in place.
Find out more about Business Continuity Awareness Week 2014