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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Audlem Christmas Lights switch-on.

Reporters Claire and Iain Wilson, Adderley, Shropshire.

The Audlem Christmas Lights switch-on took place on Thursday 27th November 2014 in Audlem http://www.audlem.org/ . Entertainment included a choir from Audlem St. James' Primary School http://www.audlemstjames.org.uk/ who performed on the steps of St James' Church and a brass band who performed outside Williams' Newsagent. There was the opportunity to float a candle and make a wish to raise funds for the RNLI http://rnli.org/ and ADAS (Audlem District Amenities Society) http://www.audlem.org/groups/adas.html , along with a Christmas Grotto. Father Christmas arrived via the ‘Audlem Lass’ water taxi at 6pm. This was followed by the switch-on of a large Christmas tree from Geoff & Olive Stretch's garden, which was sponsored this year by Norman & Trixie Bonnell to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary. Shops and pubs in the village were open late. The event was attended and enjoyed by hundreds of people.

Choir from Audlem St James Primary SchoolFather Christmas arrives via the Audlem Lass water  taxi

Friday, 28 November 2014

The Crewe Christmas lights switch-on

Reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

The Crewe Christmas lights switch-on took place on Thursday 27th November 2014 on the Crewe Town Square. Entertainment included Ruskin Soul Band, Ruskin Blue Bin Drummers, Matrix Cheer Squad, and TheFunkyChoir.com. Father Christmas also took time out of his busy schedule to make an appearance, although the Grinch also made an appearance and made a nuisance of himself! The Mayor of Crewe Councillor Pam Minshull, assisted by South Cheshire College student Ellie Gregory who designed the Crewe Christmas Lights switch-on flyer, Father Christmas and a creative writing winner, turned on the Christmas lights, which were followed by a firework display by local company Blitz Fireworks http://www.blitzfireworks.com . There were also children's fairground rides, refreshments stalls and an outdoor market. Local organisations represented included All Change for Crewe (smarter ways to travel) http://www.allchangeforcrewe.co.uk/smartertravel/cycle/ and Creative Crewe http://www.creativecrewe.co.uk/ . The switch-on also marked the start of late-night shopping in Crewe over the festive period with late night Thursday shopping until 8pm on 4th, 11th, 18th December, plus Monday 22nd December and Tuesday 23rd December.

I’ve uploaded my photos to Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanawhite/sets/72157647167241304/

Crewe Christmas lights switch-onFireworks over Crewe Town Square

Thursday, 27 November 2014

£1m boost for revitalisation of Congleton town centre

 

Congleton is to get a £1m boost to revitalise the town centre – thanks to Cheshire East.

The grant from Cheshire East Council is a key development project designed to dramatically improve the centre of Congleton.

This investment is in addition to the creation of a new upgraded leisure centre and the proposed new link road.

Starting early next year, Cheshire East and Congleton Town councils will look to begin to improve the pedestrianised areas of High Street, Bridge Street, Duke Street and Little Street, as well as create a community square at the junction of High Street and Market Street.

These improvements between High Street and the pedestrianised zone will create a high-quality, multi-use space for occasional markets, festivals and other street activities.

The scheme will be part of a plan to re-establish Congleton as an attractive location to live, work, shop, visit and do business.

One of the key problems for many towns, including Congleton, is the proliferation of ‘street clutter’. Signs, bollards, advertisements and pedestrian guardrails all contribute to both the visual and physical intrusion on the environment. This makes it harder for pedestrians, especially the elderly and those with young children, to move though the town.

Improving the streetscape will have the added benefit of enhancing the buildings and their architectural appearance. Costs for the project are yet to be finalised but are estimated to be in the region of £1m.

Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council and Cabinet member in charge of strategic outcomes, said: “The Council is keen to deliver these projects as soon as possible as a way of facilitating and promoting further developments within the town.

“Congleton has a rich heritage and a lot still to offer and we are determined to boost the economic wellbeing of the town.

“This project will act as a catalyst for further change and investment alongside a new upgraded leisure centre. It is another example of this Council putting residents first.”

Cllr Bob Edwards, Leader of Congleton Town Council, added: “This is fantastic news for Congleton town centre. We look forward to working with Cheshire East on revitalising the town centre and will be sharing information with businesses and residents as soon as possible.”

Deputy Mayor opens pop-up shop for charity tackling domestic abuse

 

Councillor Hilda Gaddum, Cheshire East Council’s Deputy Mayor, has officially opened a pop-up shop at Crewe Market for Cheshire Without Abuse (CWA), a charity that works with families affected by domestic abuse.  

The shop will redistribute excess donations of clothing, toys and household goods as well as raising awareness of CWA’s services.

It will also open up volunteering opportunities that will increase confidence and self-esteem, and provide personal development and employability skills.

The formal opening took place on Wednesday, November 26, the day after White Ribbon Day, or the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.  The shop will be open for six weeks up until Christmas and will move on to another community venue in the Crewe area in the New Year.

Over the past year, CWA received more than 1,600 calls on its 24-hour helpline, nearly 300 adults and 346 children were referred to it, 149 places were taken up on its adult recovery programmes, and 26 families with complex needs were supported. 

Ninety per cent of adults referred to CWA’s refuge came from the Cheshire East area.

Number of houses given planning permission on appeal has gone up by 800%

       
UKIP Councillors Andy Barratt and Brian Silvester have citicised the Cheshire East Council (CEC) for the enormous increase in lost housing appeals.
Brian said, “ The number of houses passed on appeal has increased by a whopping 800% and the number of appeals lost has gone up by 400% since 2012. (See below)

The reason for this gigantic leap in houses passed on appeal is that CEC does not have an Adopted Local Plan and does not have a 5 year supply of housing land, as they have recently admitted in a Spurstow appeal.(See attached)As a consequence 29 appeals have been lost in 2014 and the cost of defending these appeals is over £400,000.
The good people of Cheshire East have been totally betrayed by the Conservative and Labour Councillors who voted for the failed plan. They were promised that there precious green fields, green gaps and green belt would be protected but instead they are forced to standby and see them concreted over due to the gross incompetence of the Conservative Councillors on CEC."
Andy said, “For the last couple of years Councillors Jones and Brown have both been spouting on that we have a 5 year supply of housing land, even though several appeal Inspectors have been saying differently. They failed to listen and submitted a Local Plan that was doomed to fail. They should both stand down ,not just step back.”


Brian said, "It does not need to be like this.
To sort out the planning fiasco in Cheshire East, inflicted by the Conservatives at both local and national level, UKIP are committed to a ten point action plan :-
1) No more development in the Green Gaps/Belt in Cheshire East.
2)The early establishment of a 5 year housing supply that won’t get overturned on appeal.
3)The speedy adoption of the Local Plan.
4)The repeal of the National Planning Framework, which the Conservatives introduced as a Developers Charter.
5) Major planning applications to be decided by referendum and direct democracy, if sufficient residents sign to request a referendum
6) Priority to be given to development on brown field sites. Low grade agricultural land should only be used if necessary for the 5 year supply.
7)UKIP is the only party who will shut the open door to EU migrants. Our beautiful open countryside is being concreted over, partly because 36% of all housing demand is created by migrants. We will need to build 200 new homes a day over the next 25 yrs to house these migrants 8)UKIP will encourage and make it easier for brown field development by issuing low interest bonds to enable decontamination.
9)Houses built on brownfield sites will be exempt from Stamp Duty on first sale and the VAT relaxed.
10)We would promote and encourage the refurbishment of empty properties.

Only UKIP have a clear way forward out of the planning catastrophe that currently exists in Cheshire East."


Cllr Brian Silvester BA (Hons)
Leader of the UK Independence Party Group, Willaston and Rope Ward Councillor Cheshire East Council
11 Rimsdale Close
Rope,Crewe
CW2 6RS
Tel/fax 01270 567757
Text 07760147609
e-mail Cllr.Brian.Silvester@gmail.com
www.twitter.com/cllrbsilvester
www.facebook.com/CllrBrianSilvester

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Trading Standards officers issue seasonal scams warning

 

Cheshire East Council’s trading standards officers are warning residents to beware of scams after a spate of incidents around the Borough.

Recently reported incidents include:

  • Nantwich: man knocking on doors offering to cut trees;
  • Macclesfield: man ‘claimed to be working with/on behalf of the police’, trying to sell front doors by cold calling at residents homes;
  • Poynton: unsolicited phone call offering ‘a service to stop cold calls to land lines’ and asking for residents’ bank details;
  • Wilmslow/Handforth: unsolicited phone calls offering ‘a service to get a Council Tax refund’ with an upfront fee payable;
  • Congleton: man falsely claiming to be working with trading standards;
  • Holmes Chapel: ‘young’ men selling household products, falsely claiming to be on a probation scheme after leaving prison.  There were some complaints of aggressive language and rudeness and although they had hawker paperwork or cards, none were found to hold the appropriate pedlar’s certificate;
  • All areas: phone calls claiming to be from ‘Microsoft technical support’, asking for access to a home computer to fix a virus.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member for localism and enforcement, said: “Our trading standards officers keep track of scams and we are working with Cheshire police to protect the public. 

“Forewarned is forearmed, and we hope this timely and comprehensive summary of what scammers are up to will help residents to stay one step ahead.”

Trading standards is advising residents not to purchase goods or services from cold callers either knocking at the door or via an unsolicited phone call.

Some traders who call at your door can be honest and genuine. However, some are not and can be extremely persuasive. Examples of bad practices associated with cold calling and doorstep selling include pressure selling, unfair contracts, overpriced or substandard home maintenance or improvements, phoney consumer surveys and bogus charity collections.

Services frequently offered through cold calling are home improvements and repairs, security systems, mobility aids, gardening services, power washing, tarmac and driveway repairs et cetera.

Doorstep sales people may pressure you to agree for work to be done or to conclude a sale. Scammers often:

  • Make you feel grateful, committed or that you have lots in common with them;
  • Create a sense of urgency – the offer is for ‘one day only’;
  • Sell a ‘sob story’ or say that their livelihood is in danger.

Rogue doorstep sellers will usually insist on starting the work the same day and will often ask for cash up front. They may offer to take you to the bank or building society so you can get the money out. These are some of the phrases they may use:

  • ‘We are only in the area today’;
  • ‘We were doing a job in the area and we have some materials left over’;
  • ‘I noticed you've got a few loose tiles on your roof’;
  • ‘There have been a lot of burglaries in the area recently’;
  • ‘This cut-price special offer is only available if you sign today’;
  • ‘If you pay by cash we will give you a discount’;
  • ‘If you don't have work done it could cause further damage’.

Cheshire East Trading Standards advises:

  • Find some time to warn residents who you feel may be especially vulnerable to this type of approach;
  • If you ‘feel concerned’ about anyone behaving suspiciously, especially where a vulnerable neighbour may be involved, call trading standards via the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Service on 0345 4040506 or Cheshire police to report your concerns.  In a non-emergency call 101 and in an emergency 999;
  • Write down a description of any vehicles or suspicious people.  A vehicle registration and description is especially helpful;
  • If you do require any home maintenance or gardening work contact the Cheshire East Trading Standards-run ‘buy with confidence’ on 0300 123 5500 or visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk;
  • Register with the telephone preference service to cut down on unsolicited sales or marketing calls, contact them on 0845 070 0707 or visit www.tpsonline.org.uk;
  • Reduce unwanted calls through recent technological advances in call blocking devices;
  • For any overpayments or re-banding of Council Tax, residents can get an assessment done free with the Valuation Office Agency by contacting them on 03000 501 501 or visit www.voa.gov.uk;
  • Cybercriminals behind the ‘Microsoft technical support’ unsolicited calls often use publicly-available phone directories so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you. They might even guess what operating system you're using. Once they've gained your trust, they might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable. Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information;
  • Cheshire East Council’s Trading Standards can provide a ‘super sign’ that tells cold callers to leave. Ring the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 to obtain yours.

Cheshire East Council supports White Ribbon Day

 

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, marked White Ribbon Day with a public pledge to help stop violence against women.

Along with many male colleagues, he publicly pledged ‘never to commit, condone or remain silent about men's violence against women’.

November 25 has been White Ribbon Day, or the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, since it was inaugurated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999. It is part of the international White Ribbon Campaign – one of the world’s largest men’s anti-violence programmes.

Cheshire East Council has been a proud supporter of the campaign for more than four years. This year, the Council’s male workforce demonstrated its commitment by wearing the iconic white ribbon at public meetings and signed the white ribbon pledge in offices and staff rooms.

Councillor Michael Jones said: “I am proud to wear the white ribbon pin and be part of this campaign. There is no place for violence against women and girls in our communities. We want residents of Cheshire East to feel safe and supported.”

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member in charge of adult services, said: “We are proudly working in partnership with public and charitable organisations to prevent and reduce the harm caused by domestic abuse and sexual violence.”

While the international campaign recognises that most men are not violent towards women, men all over the world are helping to help raise awareness of the anti-violence message. The Council is urging residents of Cheshire East to make a stand against violence towards women and to make the white ribbon pledge.

For more information visit www.cheshireeast.gov.uk or follow us @CheshireEast

If you are affected by domestic abuse or you are concerned for someone else, phone the Cheshire East domestic abuse family safety unit on 01606 363532. In an emergency always call 999.

New bus service provides boost for local people

 

A school bus service is being extended to help local people travel between Nantwich and Leighton Hospital

The new number 68 service was previously a school-only service but has now been made available to all passengers as a public transport route.

This service, which runs from Leighton Hospital to Nantwich Bus Station via Walley’s Green and Church Minshull, has been introduced as part of the regular tendering process which allowed for a number of improvements at no additional cost to the Council.

It was originally a service for Malbank High School and Worleston School pupils only.

The Council’s transport team has sought to integrate services to maximise the use of resources by opening up one contract to serve both school and public transport needs.

The service also provides a limited daytime timetable on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Cheshire East Councillor David Topping, Cabinet member for service commissioning, said: “This is good news for local people, helping boost connectivity and social inclusion while reducing traffic congestion and curbing carbon emissions. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

“Local government is going through an unprecedented period of change. Cost pressure and rising expectations mean that councils must constantly look for ways to improve services while delivering value for money – doing more for less. We have firmly grasped the nettle in Cheshire East.

“This Council is also working hard in other areas, where operators have decided that it is not in their commercial interest to continue a bus service, to seek to ensure that public transport services are maintained as much as possible.

“This new scheme is another example of the real potential to work differently and innovatively to deliver better services in the local community and offer better value for money to the council and the taxpayer.”

For more detailed information about the 68 service visit the Council website at:

www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/public_transport

or visit the link below:

www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/public_transport/bus/bus_service_timetables/nantwich_rural_services.aspx

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Warning to Shopper in Crewe

Shoppers are being warned to be vigilant after Police foiled attempts of would- be 'purse dippers' in the town over the last few days.

The busier festive shopping season traditionally sees an increase in this type of offence and local police are providing a highly visible presence in the town centre shopping areas and Grand Junction Retail Park to deter would-be thieves and offer a reassuring presence to shopkeepers and visitors.
Just last Friday, keen-eyed shopworkers on Grand Junction retail park alerted Police to a suspicious man thought to be approaching elderly shoppers in an attempt to distract them and steal from their bags. Thankfully Police and staff were alerted and the man was removed from the store.

'Jingle Bells' that attach to your bag to alert you to anyone attempting to reach into your belongings are available from Crewe Police Station.
Be aware of your personal surroundings when out and about, keep mobile phones, purses and keys safely zipped away and not accessible to thieves.

Council Leader robustly defends spending on Local Plan to protect residents and countryside

 

Cheshire East Council Leader Michael Jones has robustly defended the authority’s spending on its Local Plan – to protect residents and the countryside while delivering economic growth for the future.

Critics have attacked the authority for spending £3.7m on the blueprint for development in the Borough up to 2030.

However, Councillor Jones said the sum was money well spent to protect Cheshire East from unplanned and unsustainable development and ‘a drop in the ocean’ compared to the economic benefit to all the residents in the years to come.

The public examination of the Local Plan has now been paused as the Council is minded to make some modifications following the Planning Inspector’s interim report. This is not unusual and is happening in many other local authorities across the country.

Cllr Jones said: “First of all, the Council put the spending figure in the public domain in the first place. We have nothing to hide.

“It is perfectly reasonable and sensible to spend £3.7m putting together such a large, complex and vitally important document as the Local Plan and I don’t understand why some critics are seemingly so upset.

“A spend of £3.7m would equate to the monetary value of about 1.5 acres of development on land in the north of the Borough.

“When you consider that many developers are trying to get planning permissions on our greenbelt and greenfield sites – £3.7m to protect us from up to £81 billion of development gain going in unsustainable locations seems pretty good value for money to me.”

The Local Plan has been a massive undertaking: the Council has received more than 40,000 responses from residents and organisations, which were collated, assessed and fed into the submission version of the Local Plan Strategy. The strategy has also undergone nine rounds of public consultation since 2010.

This work is of real value and has already contributed towards the Council receiving tens of millions of pounds of Government funding for our roads.

The work done on the Local Plan also forms the building blocks of whatever plan the Council goes forward with – so none of it is wasted.

Cheshire East has also now created a Task Force, led by Councillor Peter Raynes, to drive and coordinate the work to address the inspector’s concerns and strengthen the Local Plan.

Cllr Raynes, Cabinet member for finance, added: “It is important to bear in mind that the pause in the public examination of the Local Plan is not a rejection of the entire Local Plan – and we welcome the opportunity to address the specific areas of concern to the Inspector.

“The report highlights some weaknesses in the Local Plan but there’s plenty that’s right – the duty to cooperate with neighbouring Councils for example.

“The delay is regrettable but it is important that this document is right for the people of Cheshire looking forward to 2030.

“We fully support the Government’s Localism agenda and believe local people should have the power to shape their communities and the final Local Plan will reflect this.

“We will continue to put residents first while working with the Planning Inspectorate to get this right. Our mantra has always been to protect Cheshire East from unsustainable development and is a commitment we stand by.”

Refurbished play area is a hit with families

 

A play area in Middlewich is proving very popular with children and families after it was refurbished in a project supported by Cheshire East Council.

The Stallard Way play area was officially opened on Friday, November 14, by Fiona Bruce MP and the Mayor of Middlewich, Councillor Paul Edwards. 

The refurbishment project was progressed through Middlewich Vision, Middlewich Town Council and Ansa Environmental Services, Cheshire East Council’s wholly-owned subsidiary for streetscape services.

Councillor David Topping, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for service commissioning, said: “It is good to see that this project has been successful in improving facilities for local residents. I am sure the play area will give people a lot of pleasure for many years to come.”

A very generous £47,500 grant was awarded by WREN, a not for profit business that awards grants to community projects from funds donated by FCC Environment to the Landfill Communities Fund.

Peter Cox, managing director of WREN, said “WREN is committed to funding projects that make a real difference to local communities, children and families.

“The Stallard Way play area will make a fantastic space for local families to get outdoors and have some fun.  We are delighted to support the group in making this project happen for the benefit of the local community.”

The project was also funded by Cheshire East Council, Great Places Housing Group, Middlewich Town Council and Middlewich Vision. 

Resurfacing work on A533 completed ahead of schedule

 

Work to resurface the A533 London Road, Sandbach from its junction with Moss Lane to St Stephens Court has been completed ahead of schedule.

The work was originally expected to take three weekends with traffic diversions set up between 5pm and 11pm on Saturdays and 8am and 5pm on Sundays.

Early completion of the work means that there is no need for the diversions planned for November 29 and 30.

The improvement work is part of Cheshire East Council’s ongoing commitment to the Highways Investment Programme.

Councillor David Topping, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member for service commissioning, said: “I am very pleased that this much needed work has taken less time than expected, thus saving the public from a weekend of disruption. 

Council team seize Crewe loan shark in joint operation

 

A loan shark who charged his ‘clients’ 10 per cent interest per week has been arrested and cautioned as a result of a joint operation by Cheshire East Council Trading Standards and the England Illegal Money Lending Team.

The 43-year-old man was arrested at his home in Crewe on Thursday morning (November 20) in a raid involving the two teams and supported by Cheshire Police.

In the operation code named ‘Ellef,’ a number of documents and mobile phones were seized for examination and revealed that the offender had been lending to four borrowers since 2012.

The man admitted operating a money lending scheme without a licence and received a police caution.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member for localism and enforcement said: “Illegal money lending is a serious offence and can cause untold misery for families and individuals already facing financial pressures.

“While there is no suggestion this was the case here, illegal money lending is often followed up by violence and intimidation when borrowers struggle to meet the high interest rates these loan sharks demand.

“We at Cheshire East Council are pleased to be working alongside the Illegal Money Lending Team for England, applying enforcement action wherever we can to identify and arrest offenders.”

Cheshire East Council has been pro-active in clamping down on illegal money lending, working closely with the Cheshire Neighbours Credit Union (CNCU) to promote safe and secure lending with savings accounts and affordable loans for people who may not be able to borrow money from high street banks.

The Council has also banned ‘payday’ loan companies from its web sites in all the Borough’s public libraries.

If you have been offered a loan by an unlicensed money lender, or threatened by a money lender then please contact the Illegal Money Lending Team who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0300 555 2222;

e-mail:reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

or by text to: loan(space)shark(space) + your message to 60003

Calls to the above are treated in the strictest confidence.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Council Leadership hails victory over Traveller site appeal

 

The leadership of Cheshire East Council has hailed its victory in a controversial Traveller site appeal.

The Secretary of State for communities and local government has upheld a decision by Cheshire East Council not to give planning permission for a pitch for up to two Travellers caravans on land off Moor Lane, Mobberley. This overturns an earlier decision on appeal that went against the Council.

This decision comes forward at the same time that the Council has announced plans for a transit site for Gypsies and Travellers.

A site has now been identified on Cledford Lane, Middlewich, which has the potential to accommodate 10 pitches and is being progressed currently through the pre-application stage of the planning process. Cheshire East is in negotiations with the owners of the site with a view to purchasing it.

Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones hailed this week’s ruling (Tuesday) as ‘great news for the people of Cheshire East’.

He added: “This is the right decision and it is good to see the Secretary of State backing Cheshire East and the views of its residents.

“We want to work with Gypsies and Travellers but pitches have to be planned, sustainable, legal and in the right place.”

Councillor Don Stockton, Cabinet member for housing, planning, economic development and regeneration, said: “We warmly welcome this ruling, which upholds the original decision taken by Cheshire East Council.

“We are delighted that the Secretary of State shares this view and has backed the Council and upheld the wishes of local residents.

“In Cheshire East, we want to deliver sustainable sites for Gypsies and Travellers that are fit for purpose. It was and is strongly felt that the site in Moor Lane is not an appropriate development.

“It is great to see common sense prevail.”

The site application was rejected by the Council’s strategic planning Board in November 2012, but that was overturned on appeal by the applicant. Now the Secretary of State has upheld the Council’s original refusal of appeal.

The Secretary of State said the site was an ‘inappropriate development in the greenbelt’ and that ‘harm arising from the development’ would not be outweighed by other considerations.

Councillor Jones added: “Cheshire East Council wants to reassure our residents and businesses that we are committed to providing, as a priority, a transit site to reduce the level of illegal encampments and to enable the police to use their powers, under the Criminal Justice and Public Order act 1994, to direct Travellers on to more appropriate sites.

“This will reduce the negative impact on residents and local businesses. If the Travellers refuse to move to such sites they have to leave the local authority area and cannot return for three months. While occupying the transit site, they will have to pay for services, including rent.”

Cheshire East has experienced a significant rise in the number of illegal encampments across the authority, with 78 being reported between January 1 and November 3 of this year.

These encampments have had a significant impact – not only on local residents but also on businesses too.

A recent Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs assessment by the Council identified a requirement of between five and 10 transit pitches. 

Cheshire East took active steps to commission a site identification study, with the aim of finding a suitable site which could be put through the planning process.

Cheshire Constabulary – Cold Calling Warnings – 20 Nov 2014

 


This is a message sent via The Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (England & Wales). This information has been sent on behalf of Cheshire Constabulary

 

Liz Biddle (Police, Home Watch Officer, Cheshire Home Watch)

Please share the warnings/information exampled below, taken from recent calls to Cheshire Constabulary, complaining about Cold Callers.
Cheshire police and Trading Standards advise residents not to purchase goods or services from cold callers knocking at the door.  If you require any of the goods or services exampled below we suggest you ask a friend or neighbour for a reputable contact.
Between 11 and 19 Nov 2014
Nantwich - man offering to cut trees
Macclesfield - man ‘claimed to be working with/on behalf of the police’, trying to sell front doors
Fearnhead - man ‘claimed to be approved by the police’, trying to sell double glazing
Poynton - phone call offering ‘a service to stop cold calls to land line’, asking for bank details
Wilmslow/Handforth - phone calls offering ‘a service to get a Council Tax refund’
Acton Bridge - man offering roofing work, driving a van.  Rude when refused.
Great Barrow - man with a van offering mattresses for sale. 
Numerous reports from the following areas: - Holmes Chapel, Cranage, Handbridge, Upton, Neston
‘young’ men selling household products, reference to young offenders.  Some complaints of aggressive language/rudeness.  Police have checked some ‘hawker paperwork/cards’ – none found to hold the appropriate Pedlars Certificate.
Numerous reports over recent weeks of phone calls claiming to be from Microsoft, asking for access to a home computer to fix a virus.
We would be grateful if you could find some time to warn residents who you feel may be especially vulnerable to this type of approach.
If you ‘feel concerned’ about anyone behaving suspiciously, especially where a vulnerable neighbour may be involved, call Cheshire police to report your concerns.
Please try to write down a description of any vehicles or suspicious people.  A vehicle registration and description is especially helpful.
To report crime and non-urgent information – ring 101
In emergency ring 999

For additional information about your local policing team, or to read their recent tweets (you don’t need a twitter account) go to the Cheshire police web site:-  www.cheshire.police.uk

Better-off fraudster now worse off after prosecution

 

A woman is facing a bill for nearly £2,000 and a community penalty after Cheshire East Council discovered that she had carried on claiming benefits despite becoming better off financially.

Stephanie Cargill, 26, of Ordsall Close, Sandbach, began claiming housing benefit, council tax benefit and council tax support in July 2012, saying she was working but on a low income.

However, in April 2014 investigators from Cheshire East Borough Council’s benefit fraud team found that Cargill’s earnings had increased and she had moved to a new home with a lower rent.

She admitted two offences of failing to report a change in circumstances in relation to her claims when she appeared before South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court on November 18, 2014.

Magistrates sitting at Crewe were told that she received state benefits totalling £1,654 that she was not entitled to.

They sentenced her to do 40 hours of unpaid work and ordered her to repay the overpaid benefits as well as costs of £300.

The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team.

Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “It is a big mistake for people to think they can get away with claiming benefits they are not entitled to. Although the sums of money they have obtained may not be large, they risk ending up with a criminal record.

“We have a zero tolerance policy on benefit fraud because we are determined to ensure that the benefits system works for the people who really need help.”

Residents can report people they suspect of benefit fraud by calling free on the confidential fraud hotline number 0800 389 2787. There is no need to give a name and calls are treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, suspected fraud can be reported through the Council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Key role for Council’s Registration Service in £30m boost to economy

 

Cheshire East Council’s Registration Service is playing a key role in the Borough’s booming wedding industry.

The number of ceremonies has steadily increased by 30 per cent since 2009 and, along with other local businesses, the Registration Service helps to contribute £30m to the local economy.

About 1,500 weddings will take place in 2014 – an increase of 2.3 per cent on the prior year.

This success is due in large part to a more proactive approach by the service and its commitment to developing strong partnerships with the private sector. The team has worked closely with Cheshire Bride, Pink Weddings and the 70-plus approved premises licence holders to grow the weddings programme significantly throughout the Borough.

October saw the fifth annual approved premises seminar at which Cheshire East Registration Service and approval holders got together to discuss ways to promote Cheshire East as a desirable place to get married. The seminar has been central to cementing the successful joint-working approach.

The team has also stolen a march on other local authorities by actively marketing the Borough as a wedding destination at major wedding shows up and down the country.

A website www.yourceremony.org.uk has been set up alongside a high-quality brochure listing the Borough’s many and varied approved wedding venues.

To cope with the growing demand, the team has increased staffing of the ceremony booking telephone line. The line has now been extended to 6pm on weekdays to cover peak hours.

In addition, the team spotted a gap in the market. By using the Silk Room at Macclesfield Town Hall and the Mayor’s Reception Room at the Municipal Buildings in Crewe, it can now offer a range of ceremonies to meet all tastes and budgets. To date, more than 100 couples have chosen to take advantage of the new facilities.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member for localism and enforcement, said: “The wedding industry is an important part of the Cheshire East economy and we have a wide variety of outstanding venues to get married in.

“Our registration service has worked hard and closely with venue providers to make the Borough a destination of choice for couples on their big day, regardless of budget. This is an excellent example of the Council working hard to put residents first through partnership working and listening to feedback from local people.”

Council Leader could be investigated by Government for breaking publicity code

 

Willaston and Rope Ward Councillor Brian Silvester reported the Council Leader and the Cheshire East Council(CEC) to the Government(See below) for using Council staff to put out a political press release.(See below)

He said, “Cllr Jones acted amorally when he got the Council's media staff to issue a political Easter message.

The press release (below) was clearly political calling for residents to support Cllr.Jones political party and not to support other local political parties.

Firstly it is clearly wrong for Council officers to be used in a political way to issue a press release calling on residents to keep faith with the Conservatives and giving reasons why they should not vote for UKIP or Labour. Secondly  it was issued during the purdah period for the European Elections and in that period the law prohibits the Council from publishing or assisting others to publish “any material which, in whole or in part, appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party”. It is clear that from the content of the press release that the Council Leader and the Council have broken that law. I wrote an official complaint to the Council's Monitoring Officer (below) and asked her to investigate and then take action. Amazingly the complaint was put to a complaints committee that was dominated by Conservative Councillors and unsurprisingly they concluded that Cllr Jones was as clean as the driven snow and decided to take no action. The Monitoring Officer failed to respond to my complaint about the Council.

I am pleased that the Government is now going to investigate.(See attached letter) For the Council not to accept that they and Cllr Jones have done wrong is despicable. It should not be for the Government to take action, the Council should police themselves but they have proved incapable of so doing.”

Cllr Brian Silvester BA (Hons)

Leader of the UK Independence Party Group

Willaston and Rope Ward Councillor

Cheshire East Council

11 Rimsdale Close

Rope,Crewe

CW2 6RS

Tel/fax 01270 567757

Text     07760147609

e-mail Cllr.Brian.Silvester@gmail.com

www.twitter.com/cllrbsilvester

www.facebook.com/CllrBrianSilvester

Nantwich Christmas lights switch-on.

Reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

The Nantwich Christmas Lights switch-on took place on Saturday 22nd November 2014 on the Town Square. Entertainment included communal carol singing led by the Young Voices Choir, and Elvis Impersonator Paul Larcombe. Father Christmas also took time out of his busy schedule to make an appearance, although he had to stop the Grinch from cheekily stealing his presents! Nantwich Town Council’s Mayor Councillor Christine Farrall - http://www.nantwichtowncouncil.gov.uk/ - thanked the sponsors and everyone who attended for supporting the event. A ten-second countdown ensued before the lights were turned on, which were followed by a spectacular firework display by local company Blitz Fireworks - http://www.blitzfireworks.com . There was also a children's mini-funfair, festive stalls and refreshments. The event was enjoyed by several thousand people.

I’ve uploaded all my photos to a Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanawhite/sets/72157649411538381/ . Thank you to Steve and Denise Lawson, the owners of Nantwich Bookshop & Coffee Lounge http://www.nantwichbookshop.co.uk , for the elevated views of the event.

Elvis Impersonator Paul LarcombeNantwich Christmas lights switch-on (2)

Rotary Club of Nantwich and their Santa’s Grotto.

Reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

Santa Claus has taken time off from his busy schedule to meet and hand out presents to local children. He has setup a Nantwich branch of his Grotto upstairs in the attic of the Nantwich Bookshop & Coffee Lounge - http://www.nantwichbooks.co.uk - at High Street in the centre of Nantwich.

Santa will be in Nantwich until Christmas on Saturday's (10am to 4pm) and Sunday's (11am to 3pm). His remaining weekends are 29th/30th November and 6th/7th, 13th/14th, 20th/21st December 2014.

Price = £3 per child, or £5 for two children. There are gifts for boys and girls.

It’s the sixth year that Santa has setup his Grotto in the premises. The event is organised by the Rotary Club of Nantwich http://www.rotary-ribi.org/clubs/homepage.php?ClubID=305

This year's money will go to Nantwich-based charities.

Rotary Club of Nantwich (Community Services Chairman) Ashley Weaver said, “We are once again very grateful to Steve and Denise Lawson, the owners of Nantwich Bookshop & Coffee Lounge, for their ongoing help and support in allowing us to raise money for worthwhile causes.”

Rotary Club of Nantwich - Santas Grotto 2014

South Cheshire Orchestra – first concert of 2014-15 season.

Reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

The South Cheshire Orchestra performed the first concert of their 2014-2015 season at Nantwich Methodist Church in Hospital Street, Nantwich from 7:30pm on Saturday 22nd November 2014.

The Conductor was Alex Leadbeater and the Leader was Lewis Goodrich. The Orchestra performed Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture ('Fingal's Cave'), then the Orchestra welcomed French Horn soloist Cliff Jones for Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major. Refreshments were served during the interval. The Orchestra then performed Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 in A major Opus 92. The concert was given in association with, and the cooperation of, the Rotary Club of Nantwich.

The South Cheshire Orchestra’s second concert is on Saturday 14th March 2015 (7:30pm) at Nantwich Methodist Church. 

For more about the Orchestra please visit their website: http://www.southcheshireorchestra.org.uk/

South Cheshire Orchestra u2013 first concert of 2014-15  season (2)

Christmas light display in Weston

Reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

The ‘Weston Charity Christmas Light Display’ will take place at Carters Green Farm, Jack Lane, Weston, Crewe every day from Monday 1st to Sunday 28th December 2014 (6:15pm to 9:00pm). The lights have been setup by Manchester Metropolitan University (Cheshire Campus) student Graham Witter in order to raise money for The Donna Louise Children's Hospice http://www.donnalouisetrust.org/ . To visit the farm turn right just after the bypass bridge coming from Weston Village. For further information relating to the display please contact Graham Witter on 01270 586754 or visit https://www.facebook.com/westonlightdisplay

Weston Charity Christmas Light Display - poster

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Cheshire East publishes details of councillors’ allowances

 

Cheshire East Council has published, on its website, details of allowances paid to all elected members during the period April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.

It shows the amounts paid for basic allowance, special responsibility allowances, dependants’ carers’ allowance, travel and subsistence allowances, and co-optees’ allowance. 

The schedule can be viewed by members of the public on the Council’s website at http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/council_and_democracy/your_council/councillor_expenses.aspx

Copies can also be inspected, on request, during office hours at the Council’s main office at Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach CW11 1HZ.   image

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Cheshire Fire And Rescue Service November 2014 E-Newsletter - Firelink

 

 

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


Winter safety

Most incidents in the home can be prevented by using common sense and taking precautions.  Winter, particularly, can be a dangerous time with the higher than usual use of candles, electrical appliances and more hazardous roads.

The Service supports national initiatives that help our communities to understand just what precautions they can take to keep them and their loved ones safe.  Here are ones we have been supporting since the last newsletter.

Candle fire safety

With the days growing darker and winter setting in, a few candles scattered round the room can lend a warm glow to an evening. But with candle fires resulting in around 350 casualties each year, we would like you to take extra care with candles this winter - nearly 40% of all fires started by candles result in a death or injury.

Find out more - Candle fire safety

Carbon monoxide awareness

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can be fatal or cause permanent damage to your health.  CO is produced when carbon fuels don't burn completely. It has no smell or taste and, in large quantities, it can kill very quickly. 

Find out more - Carbon monoxide awareness

Electrical fire safety

Electrical appliances have become a staple of modern life - from fridges and phones to toasters or the TV, it's hard to think of how we would get by without a few electrically-powered essentials.
Find out more - Electrical fire safety

Road Safety Week

Twenty eight people were killed and 433 seriously injured on Cheshire’s roads last year.

Cheshire firefighters will be out and about across the county supporting Road Safety Week, passing on vital safety advice.

This year's theme is 'Look Out For Each Other', because wouldn’t it be better if, instead of being stressful and risky, streets were places where everyone looked out for and protected each other, particularly the most vulnerable?

Find out more - Road safety week


Looking for a new challenge in Wilmslow? Firefighters wanted

We are inviting anyone who wants to see if they've got what it takes to be a firefighter to come along to two taster events in Wilmslow.

The events will give potential applicants the opportunitiy to meet operational firefighters, as well as training and recruitment officers, who will explain exactly how to follow the recruitment process.

They will also be able to try out the physical tests in the brand new recruitment pod, a bespoke test unit housing the elements needed for the national firefighter recruitment tests.

Find out more - Could you be an on-call firefighter in Wilmslow?


Ellesmere Port firefighters save family dog after hearing smoke alarm

Firefighters in Ellesmere Port came to the rescue of a family dog when they discovered a house fire while fitting smoke alarms in the property next door.

Find out more - Ellesmere Port firefighters save family dog after hearing smoke alarm


Heroes with Grimy Faces

Chester Cathedral will be travelling through the ages with an inspirational performance involving school children across Cheshire.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, The Philip Barker Trust and Manchester Camerata have once again joined forces to create the piece entitled ‘Heroes with Grimy Faces,’ telling the story of the evolution of the firefighter and their duty to society, while exploring key fire safety messages.

The public is invited to attend and bring family and friends along to see the performance at 7.30pm on Tuesday 25 November.

Find out more - 'Heroes with Grimy Faces' premiere at Chester Cathedral


Emergency Services Christmas Carol Concert 2014

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cheshire Constabulary and North West Ambulance Service are coming together once again for the tenth Joint Emergency Service Christmas Carol Concert.

This a free event with all welcome.

Bring your friends and family along to Chester Cathedral on Tuesday 2 December 2014, the Carol Concert starts at 7:30pm.

Find out more - Emergency Services Christmas Carol Concert 2014

RESIDENTS FIRST: Putting Planning Locally – New Task Force to strengthen Local Plan

 

Cheshire East Council is moving decisively to respond to the Planning Inspector’s comments on the Borough’s Local Plan.

Councillor David Brown who has been working tirelessly on the blueprint for development of the Borough up to 2030 has decided to step aside from overseeing the plan.

Cheshire East is now creating a Task Force to drive and coordinate the work to address the inspector’s concerns and strengthen the Local Plan.

Council Leader Michael Jones said: “Councillor Peter Raynes will now lead this Task Force to expedite the process and reduce to as short as possible any delay to the Local Plan being examined and adopted.

“Peter will be ably assisted by former Cabinet member Councillor Jamie Macrae, who has a fantastic background within planning and economic development. We will also continue to listen to residents and involve external partners.

“It is important for everybody to be reassured that we have listened and will continue to listen to people to make sure we get the Local Plan right as soon as possible.” 

Cheshire East received a report last week from the Planning Inspector providing his interim views on the soundness and legal compliance of the Council’s Local Plan.

The inspector has agreed that, in preparing the Local Plan, the Council has complied with its duty to cooperate and its strategy for towns and villages. He has, however, expressed concern as to whether the draft Local Plan provides for sufficient homes to meet future need by 2030.

The Council is minded to pause the examination to allow further work to be undertaken to address the inspector’s concerns, which is likely to be completed within six months. 

Councillor Peter Raynes, who is Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “As a long-term resident of Cheshire East, I have a passion to maintain the precious landscape of our beautiful Borough. But, at the same time, this Council recognises the need to produce a Local Plan that meets the needs of the future.

“I cannot think of a more important task to be involved in.”

Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council and Cabinet member in charge of strategic outcomes, said: “In order to ensure the best chance for the Cheshire East Local Plan to succeed, I have decided to take a backward step from overseeing the Local Plan to allow a fresh pair of eyes and perspective to be brought to bear.

“I believe this is the best solution for the way forward as I have spent many hours and met many residents during the production of the plan.

“The Local Plan has been a massive undertaking: the Council has received more than 40,000 responses from residents and organisations, which were collated, assessed and fed into the submission version of the Local Plan Strategy. The strategy has also undergone nine rounds of public consultation since 2010.

“Since the Local Plan was approved by the Council, on February 28, 2014, the Government has come out with a new assessment methodology – the National Planning Policy Guidance – on March 6 this year, and therefore new housing calculations and employment figures will have to be calculated.

“Our economic growth and projected jobs creation has been outstanding – even beyond our expectations, with the unemployment rate down to 1.2 per cent in the Borough and just 0.9 per cent in Congleton for example – so we now have to review our housing numbers.

“Now it is time for others to assess the Planning Inspector’s comments in total – to make sure we can address all the issues that have been raised.”

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Tribute to Honorary Freeman Anne Blacklay

 

Willaston and Rope Ward Councillor Brian Silvester has paid tribute to Honorary Freeman Anne Blacklay from Nantwich.

He said, “Anne was the Leader of the Conservative Group and the Crewe and Nantwich Council when I was first elected to the Council in 1976. The Conservatives had just taken control of the Council and it was an exciting, hectic but difficult time. Anne was well respected by all sides, a great lady and a good Leader.

One of the first things she did as Leader of the Council was to save the Crewe Market and the railway cottages in the Dorfold Street area, in the centre of the town, from the demolition plans of the previous Labour administration.

Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council was only formed in 1974 and Anne was one of the first Leaders and she helped lay the foundations for it to be come one of the best Councils in the country.

I would like to send my sincere condolences and sympathy to her family and friends.”

Fight to stop further 53 houses in the green gap in Rope

In 2012 Wain Homes had an application for 80 houses off Rope Lane refused because it was in the Green Gap.(See phase 1 attached) They gained permission  on appeal. In the decision letter the Inspector said that the ‘the development would not materially reduce the physical or perceived separation of Shavington and Crewe.’

This latest application (see attached) will virtually obliterate the green gap between Shavington and the A500 and if the Gresty Oaks development is passed it will be gone for good. It would virtually destroy the Green Gap and the beautiful open countryside at the edge of Shavington and many acres of good agricultural land would be lost forever. It would be the latest step towards joining Crewe up with its surrounding villages. Most  people are aware of the ugly urban sprawl in places like Stoke on Trent and we do not want that on our doorstep.

Rope Lane is the main route to Shavington High School and Shavington village. Rope lane is congested and dangerous now at peak times.To have an additional 100  cars  added to the traffic movements can only lead to further highway congestion and add to the accident and pollution problems.  

No apparent regard has been taken of the fact that Swill Brook is a flood zone and that there is significant potential for flooding. Gresty Lane and gardens adjacent to the brook regularly flood now and this further development will only exasperate the flooding problems. Also the development would put extra pressure on local schools and NHS facilities which are already under pressure.

In summary there are good planning reasons to refuse this appeal. This site has not been included as one of the strategic housing sites in the Local Plan. The site is marked in the submitted local plan as ‘Proposed Green Belt Broad Area of Search. I strongly feel that this appeal should be rejected. It is detrimental to the open countryside, it would mean the permanent loss of good agricultural land, it would bring further  traffic problems, it would exasperate the current flooding problems, it impinges massively on the green gap between our towns and is unsustainable.” I would urge residents to write in to object using this web site http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/planning/appeals/online/comment  or e-mail pcs@pins.gsi.gov.uk. Quoting Ref 14/3267N Land east of Rope Lane, Shavington.  

Residents can also write to the Planning Inspectorate,3/26 Hawk Wing. Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN

NB On the 24/9/14 the original application was refused because of the reasons listed below, which are very similar to my original objections above.

Cllr Brian Silvester BA (Hons)

Willaston and Rope Ward Councillor

Cheshire East Council

11 Rimsdale Close

Rope,Crewe

CW2 6RS

Tel/fax 01270 567757

Text     07760147609

www.twitter.com/cllrbsilvester

www.facebook.com/CllrBrianSilvester

Green waste service goes into hibernation

 

The collection of household green waste by Cheshire East Council will again be suspended during the winter period to save taxpayers money and because of the seasonal decline in demand.

Following a public consultation exercise earlier this year, in which the Council listened carefully to the wishes of the public, the garden waste service will be suspended for 12 weeks from December 8 and will resume on February 13, 2015.

The shutdown will help reduce carbon emissions by reducing the use of vehicles and make better use of Council resources over the coldest months of the year.

Residents are being urged to check the Council’s website and online calendar for the date of their last collection in 2014 and the first collection of 2015.

Blue stickers are being attached to bins to make the public aware of the customary annual suspension of service.

Should any residents need to dispose of green waste during this period, they can still use the many household-recycling centres around the Borough.

Cheshire East Council Cabinet member for service commissioning Councillor David Topping said: “Suspending the garden waste service over the winter makes complete sense as demand at this time of year is very low and the Council can make much more efficient use of its resources.

“The Council consulted residents about the proposed winter shutdown earlier this year, as we were keen to hear their views about the timing and length of the shutdown and their preferred method of communication.

“Over 2,500 responses were received and the Council has listened carefully to those views when finalising the details of this year’s winter suspension. I would like to thank all residents for their co-operation.”

Householders can visit the Cheshire East website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk for more information about the winter shutdown ­– Winter shutdown, check their collection day via the Council’s online calendar ­– Online calendar and find out where their nearest household waste recycling centre is ­–  Household Waste Recycling Centres.  

Cheshire East’s household recycling centres, which are located in Alsager, Arclid, Bollington, Congleton, Crewe, Knutsford, Macclesfield, Middlewich and Poynton, are open seven days a week throughout the year, with the exception of Christmas Day.

Council Leader hands £2,400 boost to church war memorial

 

Cheshire East Council Leader Michael Jones has handed a £2,400 boost to a scheme to renovate a church memorial to local war heroes.

The Council grant money will help repair and refurbish the church gateway of St Boniface, in Bunbury, which serves a memorial to those who lost their lives in both world wars and subsequent conflicts.

The cheque presentation followed a successful application to the Cheshire East War Memorial grant scheme.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, presented the cheque for £2,400 when he visited the church for a well-attended service of remembrance.

Cllr Jones said: “I was pleased to be at St Boniface to present the grant award on behalf of Cheshire East Council.

“The money will support the refurbishment of the memorial gateway, which commemorates and recognises those who gave their lives for their country. Supporting important projects like this one is the right thing for us to do.”

Accepting the cheque on behalf of the team involved in the refurbishment project, parish vicar the Rev Tim Hayward said: “The war memorial gates project is a great example of all the community coming together.

“We had folk from the Church, the Royal British Legion, the parish council, the school and, of course, from Cheshire East, who all gave very generously. We had quite a stretch in terms of the target we had to reach.

“We applied for a number of grants to support the project, including this one from Cheshire East and, very kindly, they awarded us a grant of £2,400, without which we simply wouldn’t have been able to do the refurbishments – so we are very grateful.”

The total cost of the memorial gates refurbishment was £8,700.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Benefits cheat pensioner jailed over £60,000 claims scam

 

A pensioner has been jailed for six months after admitting fraudulently claiming more than £60,000 in a benefits scam.

Stanley Oldfield, 72, was also ordered by Chester Crown Court to repay all the benefits illegally claimed, totalling £62,977, within six months – or face a further 12 months behind bars.

Oldfield, of Lower Greenshall Lane, Disley, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two offences of dishonestly failing to report changes in his circumstances in relation to claims made for income support, pension credit and Council Tax Benefit.

Oldfield had claimed the benefits on the basis that he was on a low income and had less than £16,000 in capital or assets.

However, an investigation by Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud investigation team and the Department for Work and Pensions found Oldfield had bought three properties on Anglesey – in Holyhead, Amlwch and Rhydwyn – in March 2002, which were now worth a total of more than £500,000.

In 2013 the three properties were valued at £260,000, £160,000 and £85,000. During interviews with investigators, former demolition contractor Oldfield said he had bought them to renovate as investments. He then rented them out and also failed to declare the rental income to the benefits office.

In failing to declare these properties and the capital available to him, Oldfield was overpaid state benefits totalling £62,977.41.

The court order to repay the money within six months or face a further jail sentence was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “This prosecution sends out a very clear message that the Council and courts will come down firmly on those who attempt to defraud the taxpayer.

“Cheshire East is an enforcing Council and we will take robust action, as we did in this case, to protect our communities from those who abuse the rules at the expense of taxpayers.

“Benefit fraud will not be tolerated. Last year we successfully brought 48 prosecutions for benefit fraud – and we are keeping up the pressure to catch offenders.”

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

Housing benefit fraudster faces bill for more than £3,700

 

A man who claimed benefit fraudulently while working must find more than £3,700 to make amends after he was prosecuted by Cheshire East Council.

Lee Mooney, 25, began claiming housing benefit in March 2013 while living in Delamere Road, Handforth.

He said he was out of work but investigators from Cheshire East Borough Council’s Benefit Fraud Team found that Mooney had obtained paid employment in June 2013 and had left the property in Delamere Road.

Mooney failed to report these changes and received £3,321 in housing benefit up until March 2014, to which he was not entitled.

He was convicted in his absence by South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court on November 5, and appeared for sentencing on November 11.

Magistrates placed Mooney under an eight-week curfew from 7pm to 7am daily. He was ordered to repay the £3,221overpaid benefit as well as costs of £350 and a victim surcharge of £60.

The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team.

Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for finance, said: “This case shows that cheating the system leaves perpetrators much worse off. We proactively investigate cases like this to prevent fraudsters taking money away from those who really need help.”

Residents can report people they suspect of benefit fraud by calling free on the confidential fraud hotline number 0800 389 2787. There is no need to give a name and calls are treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, suspected fraud can be reported through the Council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Local optician’s donation will help hundreds of Crewe children put safety first

Children and headmaster David Jobling at St Michaels school in their high vis vests

A CREWE optician is helping to ensure local children are ‘seen and safe’ on the roads this winter by donating 300 high visibility vests to three community primaries, as part of this week’s national Road Safety Week (17-23 November).

As part of an initiative by Specsavers to increase the safety of Crewe youngsters, children at St Michael’s Community Academy, Leighton Academy and Monks Coppenhall Primary School have been presented with vests by staff at the town’s Specsavers store on Market Street.

All the youngsters also took part in special workshops to ensure that they’re safer when their learning takes them out into the community as well as when walking to and from school or on school trips.

Michael Elleray, store director at Crewe Specsavers, comments: ‘We’re delighted to be able to donate these vests and were very impressed to find that Crewe youngsters were already well-versed on their road safety.

‘With dark conditions, combined with the winter weather, at times when children are walking to or from school, it can be difficult for motorists to see pedestrians. Dusk is particularly hazardous.

‘These fluorescent and reflective vests are an excellent tool to keep children safe and are a key part of National Road Safety Week’s message and commitment to getting everyone on board with the importance of protecting kids, families and everyone else on roads.

‘As part of the initiative, we are also hoping to raise awareness of free glasses and eye tests that are available to under 16-year-olds. It is important to make sure that children have regular eye tests as an undetected problem could lead to something more severe in the long term.’

To find out more about Road Safety Week visit www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk.

To book your next appointment at Specsavers Crewe call 01270 250707 or visit www.specsavers.co.uk/stores/Crewe

Cheshire East takes action to reduce the level of illegal Traveller encampments

 

Cheshire East Council has taken action to reduce the level of illegal Traveller encampments in the Borough.

Cheshire East has experienced a significant rise in the number of illegal encampments across the authority, with 78 being reported between January 1 and November 3 of this year.

These encampments have had a significant impact – not only on local residents but also on businesses too.

The police have been unable to use their legal powers under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to move Travellers on from encampments due to the fact that Cheshire East does not have a publicly-owned transit site which police can direct Travellers to. 

This is something which the Council has been keen to rectify and has identified as a key priority.

A spokesperson for Cheshire East said a recent Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs assessment had identified a requirement of between five and 10 transit pitches. 

Cheshire East took active steps to commission a site identification study, with the aim of finding a suitable site which could be put through the planning process.

A site has been identified on Cledford Lane, Middlewich, which has the potential to accommodate 10 pitches and is being progressed currently through the pre-application stage of the planning process. Cheshire East is in negotiations with the owners of the site with a view to purchasing it.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Cheshire East will not tolerate illegal encampments.

“They can have a detrimental impact on an area, resulting in significant clear-up costs – not only for the authority but also for businesses and residents. 

“We, however, recognise that we have to make provision to enable the Gypsy and Traveller communities, who are passing through, a safe and secure location in which to stay on a temporary basis.”

Cheshire East will manage the transit site and those located on the site will pay rent and service charges.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member in charge of localism and enforcement, said: “Cheshire East is experiencing a substantial rise in the number of illegal encampments across the authority.

“Incidents have more than doubled – with 38 in 2012, 70 last year and 78 so far this year since January – which has had financial implications for the authority and private landowners. Failure to make adequate provision could lead to further increased levels of unlawful encampments.

“Cheshire East Council wants to reassure our residents and businesses that we are committed to providing, as a priority, a transit site to reduce the level of illegal encampments and to enable the police to use their powers, under the Criminal Justice and Public Order act 1994, to direct Travellers on to more appropriate sites.

“This will reduce the negative impact on residents and local businesses. If the Travellers refuse to move to such sites they have to leave the local authority area and cannot return for three months. While occupying the transit site, they will have to pay for services, including rent.

“Living in illegal encampments also has implications for the Gypsy and Traveller communities themselves, as the lack of suitable facilities creates problems in terms of access to health and education and we wish to address these too.”

Cheshire East Highways is ready for winter

 

Cheshire East Highways is fully equipped to cope as winter weather begins to take hold.

Duty officers receive detailed weather reports around the clock during the winter months and then decide whether to dispatch vehicles and crews suited to the conditions.  

Residents can track gritting vehicles as they treat local routes by clicking on the winter service link at www.cheshireeasthighways.org. The latest information is also posted on Twitter @CECHighways.

Councillor David Topping, Cabinet member for service commissioning, said: “I want to reassure residents that we are well equipped to deal with snow and ice in the weeks and months ahead.

“We will be continually monitoring the weather throughout the winter months and gritting vehicles can be dispatched quickly if conditions begin to deteriorate. We aim to provide as much information as possible in the event of severe weather conditions.

“We treat a total of 1,085 km of primary roads (40 per cent of the Borough’s road network) when ice or frosty conditions are forecast. However, no guarantee can be given that roads will always be completely clear of ice or snow.”

During snowy conditions, Cheshire East Highways will also deploy snow blowers,
all-terrain quad bikes with attachable snow ploughs and towable gritters for footways and roads with restricted access.

Cheshire East Highways’ preparations for winter

•           There are 17 primary gritting routes and a gritting fleet of 17 serviced and tested frontline gritters with trained drivers;

•           Nine gritters load directly from the mine with eight more operating from our northern depot;

•           Approximately 10,000 tonnes of rock salt is used for treating the highway network in an average winter;

•           We treat a total of 1,085 km of primary roads (40 per cent of the Borough’s road network) when ice or frosty conditions are forecast;

•           A normal gritting route takes approximately four hours, when treating the network for a forecast of ice and hoar frost. The aim is to complete all these routes before 7am; (This of course depends on the forecast. For instance, rain could delay treatment)

•           Approximately 3,500 tonnes of rock salt is stored locally, and regularly replenished during the winter season;

•           One-tonne salt bags can be located at short notice at strategic locations when snow or prolonged icy conditions are forecast. The principal aim is for self help for our more rural communities;

•           The gritting fleet has a GPS navigation system, which records vehicles’ locations and can be tracked live by members of the public by clicking on the winter service link at www.cheshireeasthighways.org;

•           Passing traffic breaks down the salt granules and the salt works by turning the ice or snow surrounding each granule into a saline solution, which prevents ice from forming.  

Further advice and a leaflet ‘Travelling on our roads in winter’ can be found at www.cheshireeasthighways.org, on Twitter @CECHighways or by calling 0300 123 5020.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Nantwich Saturday Night Sequence Dancers

Reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

The Nantwich Saturday Night Sequence Dancers have once again raised a substantial amount of money for charity. The dance group raise money for two charities each year and one of their chosen charities this year is Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, to whom they have given a cheque for £1,000. The money was gratefully received by Liz & Mike Boffey from the South Cheshire branch of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

The Dancers meet at the Malbank School in Nantwich on the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 7:30pm to 10:30pm. The five founder members give their time for free and charity funds are raised via a £1.50 fee charged per person per session and the proceeds from the raffle each session, helped by donated raffle prizes given by the participants. Eighty to ninety people attend each session and their oldest member is 103! The dances started in February 2007 and they initially met at the Nantwich Methodist Church in Hospital Street, before moving to the Malbank School on Welsh Row in February 2008. The group have raised over £14,000 since their formation. They chose Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research this year as one of their members sadly lost a daughter to leukaemia. The Dancers other chosen charity in March of this year was the North West Air Ambulance.

Caryl and Margaret from the Nantwich Saturday Night Sequence Dancers said, “We are all agreed that our dances are regularly attended by a lovely group of people - it makes it feel like one big happy family”.

Liz Boffey from the South Cheshire branch of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research said, “The South Cheshire Branch of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research are indebted to the Nantwich Saturday Night Sequence Dancers for their generous donation. Mike and I were delighted to meet them and hear of the good work they do whilst having fun and keeping fit. The money raised goes directly into research of all leukaemia types and lymphoma - we wish the Sequence Dancers more future success."

For further information relating to the Nantwich Saturday Night Sequence Dancers please ‘phone Margaret and Ken on 01270 627275, or email: kenandmargrobinson@btinternet.com

For further information relating to the South Cheshire branch of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research please ‘phone 01948 871250, or email: liz.boffey@btinternet.com 

Dancers hand cheque to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research

The annual Cancer Research UK ‘Christmas Fair’

Reporter J White

The annual Cancer Research UK ‘Christmas Fair’ took place at the Wistaston Memorial Hall on Saturday 15th November 2014. The event was organised by the Crewe and Nantwich Support Group for Cancer Research UK http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/content/crewe-nantwich-local-committee

There were numerous stalls selling gifts, plants, cakes and Christmas cards, plus a Tea Room serving drinks and snacks. There was also a Teddy Bear Tombola and of course Father Christmas was there as well.

Committee chairman John Pass said, “We thank everyone for their support. Once again the people of Wistaston have come out in large numbers to support Cancer Research UK.”

If you would like to learn more about the work of the local Cancer Research UK committee or would like to volunteer at any of their events please telephone Margaret Smith on 01270 626904.

Father Christmas waits to give presents to a boy and girl

Friday, 14 November 2014

Crewe Crematorium to get £1.5m revamp to improve facilities

 

Crewe Crematorium is to be given a major £1.5m revamp to improve facilities for the bereaved.

The works include extending the building, boosting seating capacity, improving toilet facilities and increasing parking.

Crewe Crematorium, located in Crewe Cemetery, will get a single-storey extension to the front of the existing building. The extension will consist of an arrival area, a book of remembrance alcove and an area where bereaved families can wait more comfortably. 

External walls of remembrance will be built to both the front and side of the existing building to replace the ‘carriage porch’ (porte cochere).

The interior will get an extra 32 seats – increasing capacity by nearly 50 per cent from the current total of 68 seats. There will also be an extension of the ‘hearing loop’ through which those who are hard of hearing can access the service.

Toilet facilities will be improved as the existing chapel of rest will be converted into male, female and disabled toilets. Additional parking spaces will be available, including additional disabled parking.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is excellent news for users of this facility and shows our commitment to deliver improved, quality services for residents.

“When we created our arms-length companies, we did this so we could develop ways of investing in our facilities. So, we are building new leisure centres and we are improving our existing facilities – something that has needed to happen for a long, long time.”

Councillor David Marren, chairman of Orbitas – Cheshire East Council’s arms-length company which runs Cheshire East’s cemeteries and bereavement services, said: “This scheme will enable us to provide an even better quality of service for people at what is very often a difficult and emotional time.

“The extension of the crematorium will allow up to 32 more mourners to attend a service for a departed loved one. Not only will extra seats be added but also a cover will be included to shelter mourners before a service, where at the present time mourners have to stand in bad weather. 

“The new corridor system will also prevent the bereaved from the previous service from walking directly past the mourners who are attending the next service – giving mourning families and friends a greater sense of privacy and dignity, while reducing the distress felt by both parties.”

The work is due to start in May 2015 and set to be completed by early autumn.

The work will be done outside crematorium opening hours and services will take place as normal. Every effort will be made to keep any impact of the work to a minimum and Orbitas thanks the public in advance for their patience and understanding.

For information about Crewe Crematorium and Cemetery, visit the Council’s website at:

www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Congleton to get new college facility to train carers of the future

 

A partnership to provide a vocational training college alongside a day care centre is to be set up by Cheshire East Council in conjunction with Congleton High School in what is seen as a ground-breaking partnership between youth education and adult social care.

Students will have their learning environment next door to a community day care centre for older people where they will have the opportunity to take part in a range of vocational training courses including health and social care and professional catering.

The college will be based at Mountview in Congleton, where a day care centre for older adults is run by Care4CE, Cheshire East Council’s in-house adult social care service provider. It will be a separate wing of the building and will remain independent of the day care centre.

But day care users will be able to take advantage of the college facilities including its hair salon and café which are also intended to be of benefit to the wider older community and social care service users. Students will also get the chance to develop social activities in which day care users and the wider community can participate.

The centre will link the younger generations with the older sector and neighbouring communities whilst training and preparing the next generation of carers and professionals for the health and care sector.

It will develop a thriving and vibrant community resource that will develop to meet the changing needs of the community.

A variety of accredited bespoke courses will allow students to study a range of vocational health and social care disciplines.  Pupils from Congleton will be offered places at the college where they can access employment and training opportunities. 

The Leader of Cheshire East Council, Councillor Michael Jones said: “Intergenerational activity is known to be extremely effective as a support mechanism for adults and an excellent  learning experience for young people.

‘I am delighted that in conjunction with The Congleton College we are able to provide such an innovative scheme that is intergenerational.

‘This is about providing an environment and education facility that will help us to build a well-trained and qualified workforce for the future.

‘It will enhance their chances of employment locally and benefit the local care and health sector with home grown professionals for the future.’

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member for care and health in the community said: ‘With more older people requiring social care and support services, we will need to develop a generation of young people who are highly trained in providing that care.

‘I want to stress that the core provision of high quality day care at Mountview will not change and that dedicated Care4CE staff will continue to provide care for service users in a distinctly separate section of the building.

‘But I am confident that this arrangement will prove to be of enormous benefit to all.’

The Council and college have ambitious plans for its continued development involving the voluntary and faith sectors and other health and social care providers to extend and develop community resources in and around the community.

The College has already engaged with local businesses and employers in order to best match their needs for training and education.

David Hermitt, Chief Executive of CMAT and Executive Principal of Congleton High School said: ‘This will be an excellent learning and training facility for our students studying for vocational qualifications.

‘It will give students the opportunity to study in a real working environment that is not a school and will bring a much-needed college provision to Congleton.

‘This really is a unique and exciting development allowing young people to study in and around a working facility and to develop their skills to ensure they are as prepared for work as they can be.’

The plan for the college at Mountview approved by the Council’s Cabinet this week and it is intended that the first phase of the college will come into use next September.

For more information, contact:

Media Relations Officer: Steve Brauner

Direct line: 01270 686604

Mobile: 07971 770548

Email: trevor.green@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Suspended jail sentence for housing benefit fraudster

 

A woman who forged rent forms in order to cheat the benefits system has ended up with fines and costs of more than £470 and a suspended prison sentence after she was prosecuted by Cheshire East Council.

For more than a year, Natasha Barnard, 30, used the fraudulent forms to claim money she was not entitled to.

Barnard, of Latham Road, Sandbach, admitted one charge of making a false representation to obtain housing benefit when she appeared before South and East Cheshire Magistrate’s Court in Crewe on November 11, 2014.

Magistrates heard that she first claimed in May 2012 while living at an address in Bridle Road, Crewe, providing a confirmation of rent form completed by her landlord showing the amount she was paying.

Housing Benefit was paid to Barnard for this property until June 2013.  She then told the Council that she had moved to Broughton Road, Crewe where she submitted a new claim and provided another confirmation of rent form for that address.

An investigation by officers from Cheshire East Council’s Benefit Fraud Investigation Team found that Barnard’s forgeries continued for more than 12 months.

Barnard will have to repay state benefits of £3,667.37 that she received but was not entitled to.

Magistrates sentenced her to 12 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months, together with 200 hours of community punishment. Barnard will also have to pay £367 costs, a victim surcharge of £80 and a fine of £15 for breaching a previous sentence.

The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team.

Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for finance, said: “This case shows that cheating the system leaves perpetrators much worse off. We proactively investigate cases like this to prevent fraudsters taking money away from those really need help.”

Residents can report people they suspect of benefit fraud by calling free on the confidential fraud hotline number 0800 389 2787. There is no need to give a name and calls are treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, suspected fraud can be reported through the Council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk