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Monday, 29 June 2015

Diabetes Garden Party

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

Sheena & Ken Sambrook of the Crewe and South Cheshire Voluntary Group of Diabetes UK - http://crewe-and-south-cheshire.diabetesukgroup.org - are once again opening up their garden for a fund-raising Garden Party. The event will take place on Wednesday 8th July 2015, from 7pm, at their house at 6 Westfield Drive, Wistaston. Entrance is 50p and includes tea and biscuits. Strawberries & cream, cakes and jam will be available for sale. There will also be a prize draw. Please contact Ken for further information: Tel. 01270 662455.

Diabetes UK Garden Party 2015 - Ken Sambrook

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The ‘36th World Worm Charming Championship’

Reporter J White

The ‘36th World Worm Charming Championship’ - http://www.wormcharming.com/ - took place on the afternoon of Saturday 27th June 2015 within the grounds of Willaston Primary School http://www.willastonprimary.co.uk/ , Willaston, near Nantwich, Cheshire.

The Championship started shortly after 2pm and participants in each of the 144 plots had 30 minutes to collect as many worms as possible from their 3x3 metre plot. There were 'traditional' plots for teams of two and 'tag-team' plots for teams who wished to change their pairings throughout the charming period. Techniques included vibrating a garden fork, whacking a tennis racquet and jumping up and down.

The Chief Wormer's trophy is usually given to the youngest wormer. However, this year it was given to Pam, Pat and Anne-Marie – who have a combined age of 216 - for the great effort they put into their charming in collecting 11 worms from plot 7.

Most Promising Newcomer Award with 137 worms in plot 108 was won by the Smith and Williams families.

The Heaviest Worm trophy was won by Alana Healy in plot 42 with 4.23g.

The Championship trophy for Most Worms was won by The Caravan Club tag-team containing the Low, Tricketts, Bell and Shaw families in plot 14 with 227 worms. A tag-team from The Caravan Club also won in 2012.

The championships also included representatives from Holland, Switzerland, Hong Kong and India.

Event organiser Mike Forster gave his sincere thanks to all the volunteers and visitors for their continued support of the event.

Events in the playground and arena included a performance by the Willaston School Percussion band, dancing by the X Academy of Performing Arts, the Willaston Scouts Ninja Poi Display Team, and singing by the Willaston Primary School Junior Choir. The arena and adjacent areas were surrounded by charity stalls, an inflatable slide and food and drink outlets.

The event took place in hot and dry weather and was enjoyed by several hundred people.

I’ve uploaded all my photos to a Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanawhite/sets/72157655123587052

Panorama of the worming eventWorm count

Cheshire East selects new Director of Children’s Services and Deputy Chief Executive

 

Cheshire East Council is set to appoint Kath O’Dwyer as its new Director of Children’s Services and Deputy Chief Executive.

Kath is currently National Director, Social Care at Ofsted and previously headed up children’s services at Warrington Borough Council.

The Council’s staffing committee has unanimously recommended the appointment and it has the support of political group leaders, who have already consulted their members about it. Full council will be asked for its formal endorsement in a vote on July 23.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Kath has an exceptional track record both at Ofsted and in local authorities.

“She improves performance while giving her colleagues real confidence in the quality of the services they provide.

“Kath believes in putting the child at the centre of everything the service does and her appointment is a testament to our determination to make Cheshire East the very best place to grow up.

“We aim to do the very best for our children by tackling the root causes of problems rather than just the symptoms.”

Mike Suarez, Chief Executive, said: “The Director of Children’s Services is a critical role within the Council.

“I am looking forward to working with Kath to transform our children’s services in line with the ambitious, innovation-led programme that the Council has set out.

“I am very pleased that she will be supporting me in a wider corporate role with her national experience.”

Kath, who has 32 years’ experience in the strategic leadership, operational management and delivery of services to vulnerable residents, said: “I am passionate about ensuring the best possible outcomes for children.

“Cheshire East and its partner organisations share that passion and I am very excited about the opportunity to lead their plans within the context of wider public sector transformation in children’s services.”

Council Leader, Councillor Michael Jones, said: “This is further proof of Cheshire East Council’s excellence and flexibility. I say thanks to all my colleagues and I fully endorse this outstanding candidate.”

Free wifi gets Cheshire East commuters back on the buses

 

Free wifi and charging sockets are turning Cheshire East’s mobile and tablet generation into bus travellers.

That’s the claim from Transport Service Solutions, Cheshire East Council’s wholly-owned company that manages public transport.

TSS is working with bus companies, schools and local organisations to provide more opportunities for bus travel. It is also backing Catch the Bus Week 2015 – which starts on Monday (June 29) – a nationwide campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the benefits of taking the bus.

TSS recently helped launch bus company GHA’s upgraded Gold 88 and 42 services and their new Congleton ‘Beartown’ buses which serve the 90, 91 and 92 circular routes. 

Arriva has also introduced its new ‘Sapphire’ service on the 38 route between Crewe and Macclesfield.

Councillor Gail Wait, chair of TSS, said: “It is great to see standards improving to help more people feel comfortable using buses as a greener alternative to cars.

“We hope the investment being made to vehicles and the introduction of new services such as free on-board wifi and power sockets for charging laptops, tablets and mobile phones will see more people catching the bus.”

TSS manages the provision of home-to-school transport for more than 4,500 children, supports 20 school crossing patrols, issues more than 64,000 concessionary passes per year, maintains 1,483 bus stops and shelters across Cheshire East, updates 1,170 bus timetable displays and manages 602 transport contracts yearly to help people get to work and education.

In the UK, more people travel to work by bus than all other forms of public transport combined. There are 2.5 million bus commuters, and another one million people use buses as a back up.

Work to begin on £1.3m revamp of Crewe Crematorium to boost facilities

 

Work is to begin on a major revamp of Crewe Crematorium to improve facilities for the bereaved.

The £1.3m scheme, which starts on Monday July 6, includes extending the building, boosting seating capacity, improving toilet facilities and increasing parking for people with disabilities.

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.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is a major investment by the Council to greatly enhance and expand facilities for bereaved families and shows our commitment to deliver improved, quality services for our residents.

“Improving this facility is something that has needed to happen for a long time.”

Crewe Crematorium, in Crewe Cemetery, will get a single-storey extension to the front of the existing building. The extension will include 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). Some memorial plaques will be temporarily moved and stored during this work.

The interior will get an extra 38 seats – increasing capacity by more than 50 per cent from the current total of 68 seats. There will also be an extension of the ‘hearing loop’ to help the hard of hearing access the service.

Toilet facilities will be improved as the existing chapel of rest will be converted into male, female and disabled toilets. Two additional disabled parking spaces will also be created.

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

“The extension of the crematorium will allow family members and friends to more comfortably attend services for loved ones. Moreover, a cover will be included to shelter mourners before a service, where at present they have to stand exposed to the elements. 

“A new corridor system will also prevent the bereaved from a previous service from walking directly past mourners attending the next service – reducing potential further distress by giving mourning friends and family a greater sense of privacy and dignity.

“I would like to thank members of the public in advance for their patience and understanding while the necessary works are carried out.”

To facilitate the works, the Crematorium will close at 1pm on Fridays and reopen for services at 11am on Mondays. The work is due to be completed by late autumn.

For information about Crewe Crematorium and Cemetery, visit the Council’s website at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Alternatively, ring the cemetery office on 01270 685545.

Welcome to this, MP’s 163rd news bulletin.

 

You may have read the exciting news recently that Cheshire East Council has bought part of Crewe Town Centre for redevelopment, including the bus station, at a price that represents fantastic value to the council tax payers of Crewe and Nantwich.
Much has already been said about the opportunity this presents for our town centre in terms of retail, but also for the leisure and food and drink venues that will be able to be introduced.
But it’s important that the Council looks after the existing tenants, and last week the Council Leader held a meeting to provide those all-important assurances. Those shops now have the security of knowing that they are not going to have to move on soon, and that their rents won’t increase, so they will still be able to provide their valued services to local people up until the point of development.
Creative plans are being looked at for the bus station, which may be sited elsewhere in the town centre, and I for one am delighted that the Council - now that they own the bus station - are finally in a position to provide the public with the quality transport hub that they have been waiting for.
As the tenant of 30 Victoria Street - one of the affected properties - I'm very much looking forward to hearing more about the developers’ plans this autumn, and am pleased that the Council have committed to proper consultation with Crewe’s retailers before coming to final decisions.
All the evidence so far points to the Council thinking ‘outside the box’ for this exercise and that is definitely what is required. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to address the way Crewe town centre works, and nothing should be off the table - including how traffic flows through the area.
If you have any thoughts about Crewe town centre, please let me know and I will ensure they are passed on!


Edward Timpson MP
Member of Parliament for Crewe and Nantwich
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.

Since my last e-mail, I have...

  • Met with the new Leader of Crewe Town Council, Cllr Simon Yates, to talk about the Council's plans for the new municipal year and to resolve the ongoing issue between the Town Council and some of our town's allotment holders. You can read more about it here.
  • Held my regular constituency advice surgeries in Crewe and in Shavington.
  • Rolled the opening pie at the annual Wybunbury Pie Wakes.
  • Supported the Royal Life Saving Society's pledge to reduce the rate of drownings in the UK. This week is Drowning Prevention Week and you can read more about the RLSS on their website, www.rlss.org.uk
  • Welcomed a report from British Gas that 3,438 homes in Crewe & Nantwich are now benefiting from smart meters, helping residents to monitor and better control their energy bills.
  • Met with Paul Coleman at South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce to talk about progress on the Crewe Pledge.
  • Signed up to Twitter! You can now follow me @edwardtimpson

Photo: Wybunbury Fig Pie Wakes 2015
I was delighted to attend the annual Fig Pie Wake organised by the Wybunbury Tower Preservation Trust. Congratulations to Mark, John and all those who helped organise another hugely successful event, but most of all thank you to Melanie Booth at The Swan for baking my pie.  I am pictured with Jo and Lucas, the Head Girl and Head Boy at Wybunbury Delves Primary School.

Crewe: Gateway to the Northern Powerhouse
Export giants Bentley Motors and Mornflake lead the way in what has been referred to as Crewe’s ‘second industrial revolution’ they are joined by 17,000 businesses in Cheshire East – more than Manchester.

Edward Timpson

Edward Timpson paves the way on children and families
The Chronicle interviewed Edward Timpson MP about his new promotion to Minister of State for Children and Families.

Work on Crewe UTC to start in January
The new Crewe Engineering and Design University Technical College (UTC) will provide training for up to 800 students, aged 14 and 19, who want to pursue careers in automotive, rail and manufacturing industries.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Cheshire East organisations named on charity ‘honours list’

 

Two Cheshire East organisations have won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service –  the MBE for local groups.

Cre8, which provides services for young people in Macclesfield, and Chelford Tenants and Residents Association each received the award to recognise the work done by their dedicated volunteers.

Rob Wardle, Cre8’s director, said: “It is just hugely encouraging for all of us involved with Cre8 to receive this award.

“A lot of our work is with young people which can be exciting and fun, as well as disappointing and very draining at times.

“Volunteers and workers at Cre8 experience lots of ups and downs with what we’re trying to do, but when we take time to step back and look at our achievements, then it makes us smile.”

Chelford Tenants and Residents Association has also been honoured with the Queen’s Award for its work to combat social isolation among older people.

Michael Jehan, who chairs the association, said the award made him feel ‘very proud and privileged’.

He added: “It is a testament to the hard working volunteers who have made such a difference to our local people, and to our supporters without whom we would not exist.

“As well as providing a wide range of activities including a community garden project, social events, coach trips and computer classes we also support our mainly older tenants to improve their housing, local communities and lives generally.

“An example of the inspiring work undertaken is our most recent initiative ‘Ageing Well in Chelford’, which includes a digital discovery project and a new Little Free Library, one of only 15 currently in the UK.”

The two organisations will receive their awards later this summer from the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs MBE, KStJ.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for communities, said: “We fund both of these organisations because their volunteers do a lot to improve people’s lives and their work is of immense benefit to communities in Cheshire East.

“Cheshire East Council is pioneering new ways to tackle the root causes of problems in society and we regard active and dedicated voluntary groups as important allies.

“By helping young people to play an active role in their neighbourhoods, or helping older people to live independently and get the most out of life, they are doing a vital job.

“It is great to see their work being recognised at the highest level.”

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities.

The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on June 2 – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

‘Pretend’ single mum faces £9,500 bill for benefits fraud

 

A woman faces a bill for £9,500 after she claimed benefits while keeping it secret that her live-in partner was supporting the family financially.

Ruth Evans, 37, claimed housing benefit and income support but failed to disclose that her partner had joined the household.

By falsely claiming that she was a lone parent on a low income, she received £8,932 before her lies were discovered by Cheshire East Council’s benefit investigations team.

Evans, of Platt Avenue, Sandbach, admitted one charge of failing to advise Cheshire East Council and the Department for Work and Pensions that she had a resident partner when she appeared at South and East Cheshire Magistrates Court (on June 15, 2015).

Magistrates sentenced Evans to a 12-month community penalty with 80 hours’ unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay £520 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

In addition, Evans will have to repay in full all the monies she fraudulently obtained.

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

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for communities, said:  “We are an enforcing Council and we are determined to stop fraudsters from helping themselves to money that belongs to law-abiding members of the public.

“So far this year, our benefit investigations team has identified £625,789 in fraudulently claimed housing benefit, Council Tax benefit, jobseekers’ allowance, income support and employment support allowance paid by Cheshire East Council and the Department for Work and Pensions. All of these monies are repayable.

“During the period 33 people have been prosecuted, 18 issued with administrative penalties or fines and 16 more cautioned for benefits offences and Blue Badge misuse.

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

“Anyone who thinks they can get away with claiming benefits they are not entitled to is making a big mistake.

“They risk ending up with a criminal conviction for a serious offence of dishonesty and a big bill to repay the money they have falsely claimed.”

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 strictest confidence.

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

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Cheshire East flies the flag to salute Armed Forces Week

 

Cheshire East Council today held a ceremony to mark Armed Forces Week.

The Armed Forces Day flag was raised outside the authority’s Westfields HQ in Sandbach at 10am today (June 22), by Council Leader Michael Jones and the authority’s armed forces champion and former mayor Councillor Gordon Baxendale.

The occasion was in support of efforts to get hundreds of armed forces flags flown at significant, strategic and eye-catching sites across the UK.

Armed Forces Week provides an opportunity for communities to show their support for the men and women who make up the forces community, from serving members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force to service families, veterans and cadets.

Events are being held across the nation in coming days to mark Armed Forces Week. These range from major set-piece events including military personnel to smaller scale, community-based events. Among the events planned locally is a ‘picnic in the park’ being held on Sunday (June 28) at Queens Park, in Victoria Avenue Crewe.

Cllr Jones said: “Cheshire has a long and distinguished history of military forces being based within the county and Cheshire East Council is proud to be a signatory to the Armed Forces Community Covenant.

“We raise this flag today to honour that ongoing commitment and to emphasize the strong ties of respect, gratitude and affinity we cherish with all our servicemen and women for the tremendous work they do for the nation.”

The Community Covenant is a voluntary statement of support between communities and the armed forces. The aims of the community covenant are to:

● Encourage local communities to support the armed forces community in their areas;

● Nurture public understanding and awareness of issues affecting the armed forces community;

● Recognise and remember the sacrifices made by the armed forces community;

● Encourage activities which help to integrate the armed forces community into local life.

The Government has published a national Armed Forces Covenant which sets the tone for Government policy aimed at improving the support available for the armed forces community.

The core principles are that members of the armed forces community do not suffer disadvantage as a result of their service and that they receive special treatment where appropriate. For further information visit the Armed Forces Covenant pages on the GOV.UK website.

For more information about local events to mark Armed Forces Week and Armed Forces Day, on Saturday, June 27, visit the Royal British Legion website at: www.armedforcesday.org.uk/find-events/

Wistaston Village Fete

. Reporter  Jonathan White, Wistaston

The Wistaston Village Fete took place on the afternoon of Saturday 20th June 2015. This annual event is organised by the Wistaston Community Council and took place at Wistaston Church Lane Academy, Church Lane, Wistaston for the first time, by the kind permission of the Head and the governors.

The event began with a procession from Wistaston Memorial Hall led by a Scottish Piper Reg Flower, followed by the 35th South West Cheshire Scout group with Union Jack flag, St Mary’s Guides, Brownies & Rainbows, and a dance troupe. The procession also included the retiring Wistaston Rose Queen (Lucy Rowland) and her Attendant (Charlotte Shaw) in an open-top sports car and this year’s Wistaston Rose Queen (Rachel Astbury) and her Attendant (Chelsea Horne) in an open-top vintage car.

Once the procession had arrived within the Arena at the Academy the retiring Rose Queen (Lucy Rowland) thanked Wistonian's for their support and stated that over £5,000 had been raised to be shared between two organisations - 35th South West Cheshire Scout group and Cancer Research UK - during her year of office. St. Mary's Wistaston Rector Mike Turnbull then passed the crown from Lucy to this year's Rose Queen (Rachel). Rachel stated that her chosen charity this year is Macmillan Cancer Support. This year’s Wistonian of the year, Gwyneth Brown, then officially opened the Fete.

Ken Sambrook and John White were the Master of Ceremonies and introduced each event in the Arena and school hall respectively.

Gwyneth Brown, presented prizes to the winners in the Laurie Twiss Award for Journalism. The winner was Emilymay Stockton, with second prize awarded to Daisy Williams and third prize awarded to Antonia Monks. They are all pupils of Wistaston Church Lane Academy.

Several children took part in the fancy dress competition and entries included a policeman, a burglar, a bear, a pirate and several princesses. The winner was 5 year old Poppy with her Hawaiian girl costume, with 3 year old Samuel getting second prize for his Robot costume. They collected their prizes from judges Gwyneth Brown and Eileen Bamber. All of the children who entered received a bag of sweets.

The Arena also had displays by the 35th South West Cheshire Scout group, Hartford Gymnastics Display Team, The Alison Gallagher School of Dance, and Liberty Morris Dance Group. In the school hall there was entertainment from Wistaston Church Lane Academy Choir, Scottish Dancers, Irish Dancers and TheFunkyChoir.com.

There were over 30 stalls representing local organisations and charities, plus refreshments stands. Refreshments were also available in the school hall.

After early showers, the event took place in mainly sunny weather and was enjoyed by several hundred people.

Dane Chaplow (Chairman, Wistaston Community Council) said, "The move from the Rectory gardens to the Academy went better than we could have expected. We are very grateful to Headteacher Mr Prince and the Governors for allowing us to use the premises. The procession and crowning ceremony were a success and there was excellent entertainment both outdoors and indoors with a splendid range of stalls. So many people attended to show their support. We hope that lots of money was raised for local charities and the Wistaston Community Council.”

Admission to the Fete was by donation and proceeds from the gate receipts and Wistaston Community Council stalls will go towards other Wistaston village events, such as the Flower and Produce Show, Spring and Christmas Concerts, and the November Fireworks Display. The Wistaston Community Council desperately requires new members to help organise next year’s Fete, as well as the other Wistaston-based events. Please visit http://www.wistastoncommunity.co.uk for further information if you would like to join.

Rose Queen Rachel Astbury on her chosen charity Macmillan  Cancer Support stall

St Marys Wistaston Rector Mike Turnbull with retiring and  new Rose Queens

I’ve uploaded all my photos to Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanawhite/sets/72157654859520916

Music Night

reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

A fund-raising music night takes place on Saturday 4th July 2015 (8-10pm) at St Mary’s Church Hall, Church Lane, Wistaston CW2 8ER. Doors open 7.30pm. Tickets = £5 and are available from St Mary’s Church Office, Malbank School office & Brine Leas School office. Music will include the ‘Muckers’ ukulele band and an acoustic set by ‘Lost in Space’. Soft drinks and hot dogs will be available for purchase. The event is to raise money for Camps International in Cambodia.

Fund-raising music night – Wistaston – Sat 4 July  2015

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Facebook Warning

Cheshire Police are issuing a warning to users of Facebook across the county regarding a blackmail scam.
A Facebook user was befriended by a girl. A short time later, a doctored image of the victim was sent to their employer’s Facebook page. This image showed the victim engaging in a sexual act in the presence of a child. The victim then received a message stating that unless £7,500 was paid the photograph and images like it would go viral and the victim’s life would be ruined.

Cheshire Police are advising people not to befriend people they don’t know on Facebook. If you are subject to any criminal activity contact the police on 101.

Royal Mail Email Scam


A scam email is currently being sent to victims fraudulently claiming to be from the Royal Mail. Attached to the email is the CryptoLocker virus.
The victim receives an email purporting to be from the Royal Mail stating that they are holding a parcel/letter for the victim. The victim is then required to contact the Royal Mail to arrange for the item to be resent/collected.
By following the instructions within the email the CryptoLocker virus is subsequently downloaded to the victim’s computer. This virus encrypts files on the victim’s system and requests a ransom be paid in order for the files to be decrypted.
Additional incentive is added for early repayment as the ransomware states that the cost of decrypting the files will increase the longer the fine is outstanding.
Protect yourself:

  • Look at who the email is addressed to. Is it generic or specifically addressed?
  • Look at the quality of the images included on the email. Are they of sufficient high quality that they could come from Royal Mail?
  • Do not open attachments from unsolicited emails regardless of who they are from.
  • Do not click on the link supplied. Instead, go to the relevant website and log in from there.
  • Check the address of any email received to see if it appears legitimate.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

Efit released

Cheshire Police has now released an efit of a woman they would like to speak to in relation to three burglaries in Crewe.
In all of the incidents, which occurred in the Crewe area, a woman has attended the homes of elderly residents claiming that she is there to repair LifeLine equipment.
Once inside the address the woman has then gone on to take a number of personal items from within the properties.
The offender is described a woman, white, aged mid-30s to early 40s, slim to propionate build with dark shoulder length hair. In all of the incidents the woman has been smartly dress and has worn a lanyard with a fake identification badge.
DC Simon Gidman from Crewe CID said: “An investigation in relation to all three incidents has now been launched and we are keen to hear from anyone who may be able to assist with our enquiries.
“We would also like to remind all residents who use LifeLine equipment that the company will not attend your address without making a prior appointment.”
Anyone with any information which could assist with enquiries is urged to contact the police on 101 quoting incident CC15162466, alternatively information can be passed on anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Cheshire East helps commemorate bicentenary of historic Battle of Waterloo

 

Cheshire East helped launch a special event to commemorate the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo.

The landmark battle took place outside Brussels on June 18, 1815. The decisive defeat of the forces of France’s Emperor Napoleon established a new balance of power for generations.

The Duke of Wellington’s victory at Waterloo is seen by many as one of the most significant in British history – and British troops did not fight and die on western European soil again for another 99 years.

As a Borough, Cheshire East has few direct links to the Battle of Waterloo. However, the iconic White Nancy landmark, built on the edge of the Saddle of Kerridge, overlooking the village of Kerridge and Bollington town, was built in 1817 to commemorate the victory.

Yesterday evening saw a commemorative run/walk to the landmark, to celebrate the bicentenary of the historic battle.

The White Nancy has even been given a smart Napoleonic makeover to mark the occasion – complete with silhouettes of figures in period costume – and will provide the focus of a community led festival running from 19-21 June.

Councillor Gordon Baxendale, Cheshire East Council’s armed forces champion, who officially started the commemorative 2km run/walk from Bollington Recreation Ground to White Nancy yesterday, said: “The Battle of Waterloo was a landmark victory for Britain and her allies – in which Napoleon was finally defeated once and for all – and a real turning point in European history.

“It was fitting to commemorate those events, and those who fought and died at Waterloo, exactly 200 years later at a landmark created here to honour that famous victory.

“It was marvellous also to see so many people take part in the run and cheer on the participants and I am sure the festival this weekend will be a tremendous occasion.”

As well as commemorating the victory and promoting the White Nancy Waterloo 200 Festival, the run/walk event also highlighted the beautiful countryside of Cheshire East and the work of Cheshire East Council’s public rights of way and ranger services.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Council’s ‘scarecrow committee’ meets at Cheshire Show

 

Communities and businesses throughout Cheshire East are setting out to prove that the Borough is the best in the North West in yet another field of endeavour – making scarecrows.

The Council is running a competition for sponsors and trade stands at the Cheshire County Show, who are being asked to feature a scarecrow on their plot. 

Show-goers will be encouraged to follow the scarecrow trail, visiting each trade stand with the chance to win a prize.

The Council will also be featuring a ‘scarecrows’ committee’ on its own stand, showcasing the work of eight community groups.

The best scarecrow will be rewarded with a £100 donation to the community group that made it.

One of the entries is from Poynton Pandas, a drop-in support group for parents with pre and postnatal mental illness which is run by a constituted, voluntary group of six mothers.

Mrs Scarecrow, whose baby Annabelle arrived by emergency cesarean two weeks ago, was referred to Poynton Pandas by her midwife, so that she can talk about her feelings with others who have been through similar situations. Mr Scarecrow is pleased that she is getting support.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for communities, said: “Cheshire East has consistently been named by the Halifax Quality of Life Survey as the best place to live in the North West.

“We know that one of our biggest strengths is our community spirit.  We have vibrant and strong local communities, which bring local people together to improve their area and gets things done.

“Cheshire East Council is pioneering new ways to tackle the root causes of problems in society and we regard active and dedicated voluntary groups as important allies.

“By helping young people to play an active role in their neighbourhoods, or helping older people to live independently and get the most out of life, they are doing a vital job.

“The scarecrow competition is a fun way of demonstrating that spirit, and showing that we are fantastic at other things, as well as being a great place to live, work and invest.”

Cheshire East Council is again one of the principal partners of the Cheshire Show on June 23 and 24. The sponsorship underlines the authority’s love of farming and the countryside, as well as its determination to support the rural economy.

The Cheshire East stand will be easy to spot on the Cheshire County Showground at Tabley, near Knutsford.

It will be dominated by a 46 sq m outdoor television screen that will show live footage from events around the showground as well as videos showcasing the best of Cheshire East.

Visitors to the Cheshire East stand will also be able to:

· Sign up to switch to Fairerpower, the Council’s new electricity and gas supplier which offers cheaper tariffs than the big six energy companies;

· Find out more about fostering;

· Learn how Connecting Cheshire is bringing superfast broadband to more and more of the borough;

· Speak to Council officers about the services provided by Cheshire East and its wholly-owned companies, including streetscape and waste collection services from Ansa and bereavement services from Orbitas;

· Catch up with Cheshire East Highways officers about the latest plans to improve our road network.

Residents warned about doorstep con tricks

 

Cheshire East Council’s trading standards officers and Cheshire Constabulary are warning residents to beware of scams after a series of incidents in the Crewe area.

A woman has called on elderly residents claiming to be a LifeLine alarms repairer.  But once inside their homes she stole personal items.

The offender is white, aged mid-30s to early 40s, with slim to proportionate build and dark shoulder-length hair. She was smartly dressed and wore a lanyard with a fake identification badge.

DC Simon Gidman from Crewe CID said: “An investigation in relation to all three incidents has now been launched and we are keen to hear from anyone who may be able to assist with our enquiries.

“We would also like to remind all residents who use LifeLine equipment that the company will not attend your address without making a prior appointment.”

Anyone with any information which could assist with enquiries is urged to contact the police on 101 quoting incident CC15162466, alternatively information can be passed on anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

In an unrelated incident, two men in a white van charged an 86-year-old householder £440 for lopping some branches off a tree.

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

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member for communities, 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.”

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.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Thousands expected for Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival

KINGS LOCK

Cheshire East Council is backing the Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival on its 25th anniversary – with thousands of visitors expected in town for the annual event.

Up to 15 venues will host music and dance from Friday, June 19, through to Sunday, June 21, with the likes of Newcastle legends Lindisfarne and the Neville Staple Band headlining.

Artists from around the world will perform on the canalside and in the town centre and there will be a brilliant floating market and hundreds of beautiful canal boats.

The Council has committed to pushing through a number of new projects in the town such as the eastern bypass and the reopening of the railway station and is one of the Folk and Boat Festival’s key sponsors.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Middlewich is the centre of boating in Cheshire and the Folk and Boat Festival, now in its 25th year, is one of the county’s great events.

“It’s a great, fun day and I encourage as many people as possible to go along. In the long run we want to improve parking in the town so that the festival can get even better.

“It is great for the Middlewich economy but we want people to visit the town more often and make it a destination point for many things.

“We need to have high aspirations for Middlewich and to make it a better place to live and to make it greener, stronger and better. This is why we are very committed to Middlewich and rightly so.”

Cheshire East Council has pledged a strong commitment to creating a bright future for Middlewich.

Working closely with Middlewich Town Council and Congleton MP Fiona Bruce, Cheshire East is lobbying for new roads to improve connectivity in mid-Cheshire, create a vibrant town centre and high street, infrastructure to support a marina, new leisure facilities, housing, schools, bus routes and cycle links and a revamped railway station.

And the Council estimates that up to 3,000 jobs could be created over the next five years as a result of increased investment in Middlewich.

Also performing at the festival are Mark Radcliffe & Galleon Blast, Ward Thomas and Thrill Collins. For more information, visit www.midfest.org.uk

‘Your town, your choice’ – survey to chart the future of Crewe town centre

 

Cheshire East Council is about to launch a major initiative to involve residents and businesses in plans to improve Crewe town centre.

‘Your town, your choice’ will be the most wide-ranging consultation ever carried out on the topic.

During July, the Council will seek the views of residents and businesses through the media, social media channels, face-to-face meetings and an in-depth survey. 

The survey will cover a host of vital questions related to the future of the town centre, including:

  • Plans for the Royal Arcade site;
  • Proposals for a new bus interchange;
  • The future of the indoor market;
  • Car parking;
  • Planning policy.

The move comes at an exciting time for Crewe, which could be set for its most significant town centre development scheme in decades.

In April, the Council acquired the Royal Arcade site for £6m, which includes the bus station and 26 retail units along Queensway and Victoria Street.

The bold move followed years of speculation since the Delamere Place retail and office scheme stalled in 2009. 

Options for redeveloping part of the site could include additional leisure attractions such as a new larger cinema, restaurants, a hotel, car parking and a remodelled bus interchange.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “We believe in putting our residents and businesses first, so we are not going to make any decisions until we have heard what people have to say.

“We need them to tell us what they want, so that we understand better the role that the Council can play in giving our residents the town centre they deserve.

“We’ve already secured millions of pounds of investment for the town centre through the new Lifestyle Centre and the University Technical College, which will both open in 2016.

“We believe there is an opportunity to forge a role for the town centre as a destination for families to spend quality leisure time – but we need to know whether people support this idea.

“We also want to hear their views on a range of other topics, including car parking and defining the town centre boundary more clearly to promote development.”

Starting in July, the Council will be asking for people’s views through:

  • A survey questionnaire that can be completed on paper or online;
  • Informal consultation and questions via social media;
  • Events to discuss ideas and opportunities, where council officers will be available to answer questions.

More information will soon be available in the local media and on the internet.

Action Fraud

 

People looking for cheap flight tickets are being targeted by fraudsters. New websites are continuously being created with slight changes to the company names with the intention to deceive the public. They offer tickets at bargain prices and usually request for payment via bank transfer. These tickets do not materialize and the funds are retained by the fraudsters.
Protect yourself:

  • Where possible, buy from well-known company names. If you've never heard of a company, conduct some due diligence.
  • Use the internet. Type the name of the company/site you are buying from and look for reviews of what others customers are saying about the company. Bad customer service feedback usually finds their way online quite quickly.
  • Use companies that are ATOL or ABTA Registered. You can check this here: http://abta.com/go-travel/before-you-travel/find-a-member or http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=490&pagetype=65&appid=2
  • Check the authenticity of flight booking websites before making any reservations. A “whois” search on the website will identify when the website has been created, so be wary of newly formed domains. This search can be conducted using http://who.is
  • Never send money to bank accounts. If possible pay using a credit card – that way you have some protection and avenue for recompense. 
  • Sign up to Action Fraud Alert https://www.actionfraudalert.co.uk/ to keep you updated with what’s going on.
If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

Cheshire East teams up with housing provider to offer cheaper energy

 

Social housing tenants will be offered cheaper energy thanks to a deal between a leading housing association and Cheshire East Council.

Peaks and Plains Housing Trust has signed up to support Fairerpower, the gas and electricity supplier launched by the Council in conjunction with OVO Energy in March.

Along with the pay-monthly options, Peaks and Plains’ 5,000-plus householders could benefit from Fairerpower's pay as you go tariff, which is currently the cheapest prepayment tariff in the UK (see notes 1a/1b).

Fairerpower, a partnership between the Council and OVO Energy, has currently saved pay as you go customers £108 annually (see note 2).

So far, more than 1,800 people have switched to Fairerpower, potentially saving a combined total of £414,000 per annum (see note 3).

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “I am delighted that Peaks and Plains Housing Trust has joined our battle against fuel poverty.

“Our pay as you go tariff is good for their customers, who are also our residents. We believe in putting our residents first and we look forward to more and more housing association tenants switching their energy supply to us.

“The Council is not making any money out of Fairerpower. In fact we are investing in it. The return we get is the savings we are securing for our residents.”

Fairerpower will also supply Peaks and Plains with gas and electricity for their empty properties and the commercial properties that it occupies or rents out.

Tim Pinder, chief executive of Peaks and Plains Housing Trust, said: “We applaud Cheshire East’s ambitions to reduce fuel poverty and if Fairerpower can reduce fuel bills for many of our hard-pressed tenants, that frees up more of their household budgets to be spent elsewhere.”

Craig Morley, managing director of OVO Communities, said: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Peaks and Plains so we can help even more residents get access to a fair deal on their energy.”

Fairerpower PAYG customers will get:

· Potential average savings of £67 per year on existing tariffs – in some cases this could be more (see note 4);

· A smart meter and in-home display to monitor energy consumption and account balance to help customers make better decisions about usage;

· Award-winning service through partnership with OVO Energy, which was named supplier of the year in the uSwitch Energy Awards 2014;

· A refer-a-friend scheme which offers a £20 Amazon gift certificate for referrer and referee (See note 5).

To find out more about Fairerpower or to switch, please go to www.fairerpower.co.uk or call 0800 408 6701 (pay monthly) or 0800 408 6705 (PAYG).

Council leads way to greener transport and cleaner air in Cheshire East

 

Cheshire East Council has secured government grant funding to provide electric vehicle recharging points for local road users – and potentially the Council's own fleet. 

Electric vehicle (EV) technology is relatively new but the number of electric vehicles in the UK has risen in the last two years from 3,500 in 2013 to 15,500 in 2014 - and the expectation is for that figure to keep on growing and growing. 

One of the biggest barriers to people taking up this technology is the lack of a public charging network and the Council receives regular enquiries about EV infrastructure.

The grant funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (Olev) will enable the Council to provide six 50kV rapid charging units – two each in car parks in Congleton (Princess Street), Wilmslow (South Drive) and Nantwich (Love Lane). The units will be operated by a third party. 

These units can recharge a vehicle from ‘empty’ up to 80 per cent charge in as little as 20 minutes. The sites have been chosen as they are close to destination points such as supermarkets and coffee shops, where drivers can pass 20 minutes or so while waiting for their vehicle to charge.

Council Leader Michael Jones said: “This is good news for the environment and for encouraging modern, greener transport to flourish. It is also about thinking and acting innovatively – and about putting our local residents first and tackling issues at their root.

“This project allows residents to take up new ultra-low-emission vehicle technology with assurance that they will be able to recharge when away from home if needed.  It's also a step towards cleaner air in our Borough.” 

EV users will be able to check the status of the chargers using mobile phone apps or web links.  There are already 563 publicly-funded rapid charge points in the UK – and these are the first in Cheshire East. 

The Council also secured funding for five 7kV ‘fast charging’ units.  These will primarily be installed on Council-owned sites to enable the authority to begin using EVs in its own fleet. They have been installed at Macclesfield Town Hall, the Council’s HQ at Westfields, Sandbach and Delamere House, Crewe.

There are also two fast chargers in the Library car park, in Crewe near the flagship Lifestyle Centre, and these will be made available to the public in due course.

Senior management restructuring at Cheshire East Council

 

After a review of the senior management structure at Cheshire East Council, it has been agreed that the role of executive director for strategic commissioning will become redundant.

As a result, Lorraine Butcher will be leaving the Council to seek new challenges.

She said: “After six years of working for Cheshire East Council, I have taken the decision that now is the right time to move on to seek new challenges in my career in pastures new.”

Mike Suarez, Chief Executive of Cheshire East Council, said: “I would like to thank Lorraine for her significant contribution and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

“The Council has come a long way and Lorraine should feel proud of the part that she and others have played in ensuring that residents of Cheshire East have access to good services.” 

Mrs Butcher added: “Having been part of the leadership team that established the Council when it was formed in 2009, I have been pleased to have played a strong role in my respective roles of head of children and families, director of children’s services, strategic director of people and, latterly, executive director for strategic commissioning. 

“The challenges faced by councils, and the public sector in general, are significant.  I am keen to make a wider contribution to these in ways that give me more flexibility about how I deploy my skills and experience.

“I would like to thank all those colleagues that I have worked with, and who have supported me, along with those from partner agencies across the sub-region who share my commitment to do the very best for residents, through finding new and frequently better solutions to our shared challenges”.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Forthcoming Wistaston Village Fete

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

Wistaston Village Fete procession

 

The annual Wistaston Village Fete takes place this Saturday 20th June at a new venue: Wistaston Church Lane Primary School, CW2 8EZ. The event will start with the Rose Queen procession from the Wistaston Memorial Hall at 1:30pm with a tour including Westfield Drive, White Hart Lane, Kings Drive, Princess Drive, Holyrood Drive, and Sandringham Drive, arriving at the school field for the official opening of the fete. This year's fete will be bigger than ever with over thirty stalls as well as events in the arena. The theme this year is ‘Colours of the Rainbow’. Admission to the fete is by donation and proceeds go towards other Wistaston village events.

Full programme

1:30pm – The Piper leads the Rose Queen’s procession from Wistaston Memorial Hall to the School.

1:45-1:50pm – The Piper leads the Rose Queen into the Arena at the School.

1:50-2pm – Rose Queen, Rachel Astbury, is crowned by the Rector, Mike Turnbull.

Wistonian of the Year, Gwyneth Brown, opens the fete.

Judging of Fancy Dress by Gwyneth Brown and Eileen Bamber.

Arena events:

2:15-2:35pm – Wistaston Scout Group

2:40-2:55pm – Scottish Dancers

3:00-3:05pm – Laurie Twiss Award presented by Gwyneth, Wistonian of the Year

3:10-3:30pm – Hartford Gymnastics Display Team

3:35-3:55pm – The Alison Gallagher School of Dance

4:00-4:20pm – Liberty Morris Dance Group

In the School Hall there will be a Café where the following will entertain:

2:15-2:35pm – Church Lane Primary School Choir

2:45-3:05pm – Irish Dancers

3:15-3:25pm – The Funky Choir

Please note times are approximate.

Come and enjoy the fun of the fete – don’t forget the Children’s Fancy Dress competition. There will be a Tombola, many other stalls to tempt you, many games to play and there will be a Thomas the Tank Engine to take you on a little journey around the field.

Benefit cheats face big bills after frauds are uncovered

 

Two fraudsters will each have to pay back about £10,000 after they were caught claiming benefits they were not entitled to.

Sylvanie Samba, 30, admitted failing to report a significant increase in her earnings between April 2010 and January 2015, which led to her wrongly receiving £9,070 from Cheshire East Council.

At South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court (on June 5), Samba, of Hammond Street, Crewe, received a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £600 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

In an unrelated case at the same court (on the same day), Hayley Potts, 36, admitted fraudulently obtaining £10,527 in housing benefit and Council Tax support by failing to declare that her partner was living with her and supporting her financially.

Potts, of Stone Chair Lane, Scholar Green, near Alsager, was fined £460 with £600 costs and a £46 victim surcharge.

Both women will have to repay in full all the benefits that they fraudulently received.

The prosecutions were brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for communities, said: “We are an enforcing council and we are determined to stop fraudsters from helping themselves to money that belongs to law-abiding members of the public.

“The defendants in these cases thought they could get away with claiming benefits they were not entitled to, but they were making a big mistake.

“They have ended up with criminal convictions for a serious offence of dishonesty and now face a big bill to repay the money they have falsely claimed.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy towards benefit fraud because we are determined to ensure that the benefits system works for 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

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Dealers in new fatal legal high told – ‘stay out of Cheshire East’

vertex

Council leader Michael Jones has a message for dealers selling a new type of legal high that is known to prove fatal – ‘stay out of Cheshire East’.

It follows an alert from Cheshire Police after several incidents elsewhere in Cheshire.

Cllr Jones is also appealing to parents and schools to be extra vigilant and to watch out for tell-tale signs among young people who may be tempted to try Vertex (also known as space cadet), a new legal high known to have caused deaths.

Councillor Jones, who recently announced a major new policy around intervention and support for young people with troubled lives, said: “People who peddle these legal highs are despicable and are preying on the vulnerable and the young.

“I would be very concerned if any young people in Cheshire East fell victim to these potentially-lethal substances and I applaud the police for alerting everyone to the dangers of Vertex, which it appears is being peddled by unscrupulous dealers on our doorstep.”

Cheshire police Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts has appealed to anyone supplying Vertex to stop and for anyone who has purchased it, has used it or is considering using it, to stop.

Anyone who has taken it, he said, should seek urgent medical assistance.

Vertex can cause delirious ranting, profuse sweating, racing heart beat, muscle tension and a sudden high body temperature.

Anyone showing signs of these symptoms should be placed in the recovery position and an ambulance called.

Councillor Jones said: “This is extremely worrying and I appeal to Cheshire East residents to report any suspicions to the police.

“I am also telling the dealers in this drug to stay out of Cheshire East.”

Steph Cordon, Cheshire East Council’s head of communities, said: “Young people think so-called legal highs are a safe option but there have been nearly 200 deaths in England associated with these substances.

“Users of ‘legal highs’ may receive help through the Cheshire East substance misuse service, where they are supported and advised on the physical and psychological risks and long-term consequences.”

Vertex or ‘space cadet’ is known to contain a highly dangerous chemical linked to a number of deaths on the continent and it is now being sold on the streets and in schools with several incidents reported in Cheshire.

Crewe rail station’s new entrance scoops top award

Crewe rail station's new entrance

The project which created Crewe’s new railway station entrance has scooped a top award.

The Crewe Rail Exchange scheme was completed in 2014, thanks to a partnership between Cheshire East Council, Network Rail, Virgin Trains, Balfour Beatty and Jacobs.

It has now won the prestigious ‘sub-regional project of the year award’ at the North West Regional Construction Awards 2015.

The project, which is part of the ‘All Change for Crewe’ regeneration initiative, also scooped a ‘highly commended’ in the ‘integration and collaborative working’ category.

The scheme is also in the running for national awards at the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) this week.

The new entrance, which includes 254 parking spaces, sits on Weston Road and offers improved access to the station (including disabled access), a new lift and enhanced taxi and cycle facilities.

Councillor Don Stockton, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of regeneration and assets, said: “I am thoroughly delighted that the Crewe Rail Exchange project has won recognition both regionally and nationally.

“The new entrance is really good news for Crewe, looks fantastic and has helped to improve access into and around the railway station.

“I am really pleased too that the hard work and fantastic results of the Cheshire East team involved have won the recognition they deserve.”

The entrance sits on the site of the former Royal Mail office and cost £6.5m, funded by the Department for Transport, Cheshire East Council and Defra’s ‘access for all’ programme.

The North West Regional Construction Awards took place at Manchester’s Palace Hotel on Thursday, June 4. For more information, visit: www.constructionawardsnw.co.uk

The CIHT Awards 2015 are being held tomorrow (Tuesday, June 9), in London. More information is available at www.ciht.org.uk/en/events/ciht-awards

‘Thank you’ to all carers in Cheshire East!

 

Cheshire East Council and its partners are saying a huge ‘thank you’ to the Borough’s carers this week with a series of events.

Carers’ Week runs until Sunday, June 14 and the Council is showing its support for their invaluable work by offering them chances to have a break, enjoy complementary therapies and take part in afternoon tea sessions.

Carers’ Week celebrates and recognises the contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers who look after an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend.

Together with NHS Eastern Cheshire and NHS South Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Cheshire East is committed to supporting unpaid carers of all ages and is working towards building ‘carer-friendly communities’.

As a partnership, it has also made a pledge towards achieving this on the ‘pledge wall’ at www.carersweek.org and is encouraging residents and businesses in Cheshire East to do the same.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cabinet member in charge of adults, health and leisure, said: “We would like to encourage as many carers as possible to attend the Carers’ Week events in Cheshire East.

“They are designed to enable carers to access the support, information and advice they may need to help them to be recognised and supported.”

The following events are taking place this week:

Monday, June 8

· Carers’ Afternoon Tea, Crewe Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) – 1.30-3.30pm.

· Carers’ information and relaxation therapies, Knutsford Methodist Church Hall – 12-3pm.

Tuesday, June 9

· Crewe carers’ careers event, Brierley Street – 10am-2pm.

Wednesday, June 10

· Carers’ Afternoon Tea, Congleton Disability Information Bureau – 1.30-3pm.

· Complementary therapies, Neuromuscular Centre, Winsford – 10am-4pm.

· Parent carer celebration event, Ruby’s Fund Congleton – 10.30am-1.30pm.

· Drop in, Macclesfield Office Ropewalks – 10am-1pm.

· Day trip to carers’ caravan in North Wales (transport from Crewe) – 10am-4.30pm.

Thursday, June 11

· Crewe Support Group, Unit 1 Crewe office, relaxation techniques – 12-2pm.

· Garden party, East Cheshire Hospice, Macclesfield – 4-7pm.

· Caring with confidence, Handforth Health Centre – 10am-1pm.

· Carers’ Afternoon Tea, Shopmobility Macclesfield – 12-2pm.

· Complementary therapies, Neuromuscular Centre, Winsford – 10am-4pm.

· Visit to Ness Gardens, Neuromuscular Centre, Winsford – 11am.

Friday, June 12

· Information Stall, Leighton Hospital Outpatients, Crewe – 10.30am-2pm.

· Carers’ careers event, Macclesfield Library – 10am-2pm.

Saturday, June 13

· Family fun event, Congleton Leisure Centre – 1.30-3.30pm.

Some of these events require pre-booking, call Carers’ Trust Cheshire and Warrington on 01270 257331 for details. For more information on events at the Neuromuscular Centre in Winsford, call 01606 860911.

For further information on Carers’ Week, visit www.carersweek.org

Notes to editors

Most of the events above are organised by Carers’ Trust Cheshire and Warrington and Advice Cheshire East, and are sponsored and backed by Cheshire East Council.

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

 


Alarms4life - Smoke alarms for rented properties

Landlords across Cheshire are being urged to act now to ensure they are ready for new safety laws aimed at saving dozens of lives a year.

The regulations make it compulsory for all landlords to fit smoke alarms in rented homes and are expected to come into effect from October 2015.

Find out more - Smoke alarms for rented properties


CFOA Road Safety Week


Young driver distraction is the focus of this year's Road Safety Week (8 to 14 June)

Cheshire firefighters will be promoting targeted safety messages throughout the Chief Fire Officers Association's Road Safety Week.

Find out more - CFOA Road Safety Week


Two men awarded for bravery after Ellesmere Port fire

Two members of the public who saved the life of a 94-year woman in Ellesmere Port after rescuing her from a house fire have been given an award from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Hancock awarded the men a Community Award at Ellesmere Port Fire Station on 2 June for their brave actions that ultimately saved the woman’s life.

Find out more - Two men awarded for bravery after Ellesmere Port fire


Cheshire Show 2015

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service will once again be at Cheshire Show, engaging with members of the public delivering vital road and fire safety information, along with the famous children's yellow helmets.

Find out more - Cheshire Show 2015


Fire Station open days

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service fire stations will be holding a number of free fire station open days over the next couple of months.

Find out more - Fire Station open days


Follow Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service on Social Media

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Legal High Wraning

At 1.23am on Wednesday, June 3 Cheshire police received a call of concerns for the welfare of four people outside James Lee House in Brick Street, Warrington.
Three men and a woman were taken to hospital. The three men have since been discharged but the woman remains in a serious condition. Evidence suggests they may have consumed the legal high, Vertex.
Information suggests there have been other recent cases linked to the consumption of Vertex.
Police and Warrington Borough Council now have serious concerns over this particular substance and are investigating it.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts said: “We are extremely concerned that this substance would appear to have led to five people being hospitalised in a serious condition. I would strongly urge people not to take this specific substance, Vertex, and for people to be aware of the dangers of taking any substance known as a legal high.
“If people have taken this or any other substances and have concerns about their health they should contact the medical services as soon as possible.”

High-speed fibre broadband now available to more than 70,000 homes and businesses – thanks to Connecting Cheshire

 

More than 70,000 homes and businesses have now been given access to high-speed broadband – thanks to the Connecting Cheshire project.

The partnership between four Cheshire councils including Cheshire East and BT will provide fibre broadband to residents and businesses with speeds of up to 300mbps*. 

When added to the commercial rollout by BT and other broadband providers, there will be 96 per cent coverage by the end of 2015.

This month, the first cabinet from the Church Minshull exchange was completed and is now accepting orders, providing fibre broadband to around 200 premises in the village. Further coverage in this area is expected to be completed over the summer.

Other recent areas now benefiting from superfast speeds include Malpas, Elton, Farndon, Lymm, Pickmere and Congleton.

One year on from the launch of the ‘Fibre Guy’s’ marketing campaign, Connecting Cheshire has been recognised as one of the best projects in the country in regards to take-up and demand stimulation.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council and Ward member for Bunbury, which includes Church Minshull, said: “This is more good news for residents and local businesses.

“We are well on our way to connecting 80,000 premises across Cheshire. The roll-out of superfast broadband is going to benefit rural communities significantly.

“It is great to see so many people have taken up a faster broadband. We urge everyone to check their availability and upgrade to superfast broadband as it offers many fantastic benefits for your home or business.”

Mike Blackburn, BT regional director for the North West, said: “Websites that bring customers to Cheshire businesses, entertainment in the home, wi-fi on the move, time-saving financial and admin systems are all better, faster and more efficient with the introduction of high-speed fibre broadband.  Openreach engineers working closely with Cheshire councils have made a future with more connected communities a reality.”

Terry Golding, an experienced professional voiceover for TV, radio and online, recently upgraded to superfast broadband in Malpas at his home studio thanks to Connecting Cheshire. He is delighted with the difference it has made to his business.

He said: “My broadband speed is now 10 times faster and the ability for me to finally utilise specialist broadcast IP-to-IP software means I am now able to work with many, many new clients in real time around the globe, from Chester to Canberra.”

To check availability visit the Connecting Cheshire website and enter either a postcode or telephone number – http://www.connectingcheshire.org.uk/check-availability

Relief in sight for school plagued by traffic problems

 

A Cheshire school is set to build a new car park to tackle traffic chaos on the school run.

Children going to Stapeley Broad Lane Primary School in Nantwich have to be dropped off on the A529.  Cars are often parked on both sides of the road, creating a bottleneck.

The school, a self-governing academy, raised money to buy the land for a car park and secured planning permission two years ago, but the project has been held up by the need to secure agreement from a number of parties.

But now head teacher Ian Shackleton has written to parents telling them that work will start over the summer.

He said: “The governors will be meeting on Monday and we expect to be able to confirm that all the legalities are in place and that planning conditions have been met.

“We have already appointed a contractor and we expect the work to be carried out over the summer holidays to minimise disruption to the school.”

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for children and families, has welcomed the news.  She said: “I am pleased to hear that a solution is now within reach.

“Cheshire East Council has done all it can to help bring this about by granting planning permission and agreeing a long lease on the land for the car park with a reduction on the amount payable by the school.

“We are pleased to hear that the school is now in a position to go ahead with the work.

“Because of our concern for road safety, the Council took action some time ago to reduce speed limits and install other traffic management measures outside the school.”

Cheshire East’s strong economy boosts demand for property

 

Most sectors of Cheshire East’s property market are expanding thanks to a buoyant small business sector and significant investments by major employers.

These are the findings of the Cheshire East Commercial Property Review 2015, which was launched in front of about 100 professional advisers and investors at Alderley Park Conference Centre.

In the foreword to the report, Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones said: “This review shows that the property market has well and truly woken up to the strength of our economy.

“More and more industrial, retail, office and leisure occupiers, on whom the market depends for its livelihood, are finding that Cheshire East is a great place to do business.

“Cheshire East Council is setting out an ambitious plan to support the creation of more than 31,000 new, predominantly private sector jobs by 2030. This will mean greater skills, fewer people claiming benefits and less dependence on public sector employment.

“The Council is moving rapidly to acquire properties and sites to energise the regeneration of Macclesfield, Crewe and Middlewich town centres. We expect more, exciting news on these projects before the end of this year.”

The review reveals that take-up of industrial floorspace rose by 70 per cent to 76,602 sq m in 2014, with transactions doubling compared with the prior year. The largest deal was the letting by warehousing property specialist Prologis to Optima Logistics of a 17,229 sq m building warehouse at Midpoint 18 in Middlewich.

There were 45 office deals involving 22,300 sq m of space overall, with activity running 30 per cent above the five-year average for the Borough. All but two transactions involved less than 10,000 sq ft, reflecting the strength of the borough’s small and medium-sized enterprises.

Housebuilding was slightly up on the prior year, with 663 new dwellings built, 3,943 under construction, and planning permission granted for 5,395 homes on 42 sites.

Waters Corporation, a manufacturer of mass spectrometry instruments, opened its new headquarters outside Wilmslow and Bentley Motors announced its largest ever investment in Crewe, spending £40m on a new research and development centre that will create over 300 new jobs.

Dr Chris Doherty, Alderley Park site director for Manchester Science Partnerships, said the former AstraZeneca research and development base expected to attract up to 100 companies, including start-ups, which would create ‘a new cohort’ of biotech companies for the region.

Julian Cobley, Cheshire East Council’s head of investment, said the Borough’s appeal was based on quality, with the Cheshire Science Corridor linking together the Alderley park BioHub, AstraZeneca’s Hurdsfield site and Jodrell Bank in a cluster capable of generating significant economic benefits.

The launch was attended by about 100 agents, developers, landowners, chartered surveyors and  planning consultants active in the commercial property market, who were keen to hear about the development opportunities available in Cheshire East.

They were also able to meet key Cheshire East officers and those providing complementary services to the property market in the Borough.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Action Fraud

 

Action Fraud has seen an increase in the number of small to medium sized businesses being contacted by fake bailiffs requesting payments for a phantom debt.
The scam involves the business being cold called from someone purporting they are bailiffs working on behalf of a court, attempting to recover funds for a non-existent debt. The caller will then request payment by means of bank transfer and if this is refused, will threaten to visit the premises to recover the debt that is owed.
A range of different businesses are being targeted; including Nurseries, Manufacturers, Hotels and Taxi Services.
Protect Yourself

  • Confirm what the debt is regarding; bailiffs are only used to recover certain debts such as council tax, child support and compensation orders. Bailiffs are not used to recover debts relating to private advertisement; these would be collected by debt collectors. Debt collectors do not have the same legal powers as bailiffs and will not have special court authorisation to act. For more details regarding this, please look at the Citizens Advice website.
  • Double check with the Court or originating company to confirm whether the suspects are legitimate; if you use a landline make sure you hear the dialling tone prior to dialling as the suspects could still be on the line.
  • Request details of the debt in writing to access its legitimacy.
  • Do not feel rushed or intimidated to make a decision based on a phone call.
If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk

Household waste recycling centres go from strength to strength in Cheshire East – and get the thumbs up from residents!

Household waste recycling centres go from strength to strength in Cheshire East – and get the thumbs up from residents!

The recycling of household waste is going from strength to strength in Cheshire East – and proving a hit with local residents.

The Council’s nine household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) across the Borough are now reusing and recycling 79.7per cent of items and diverting them from becoming landfill.

This is almost nine percentage points higher than the figure for 2008/9 (71 per cent) when the new unitary authority of Cheshire East was formed.

Moreover, a recent survey of HWRC users gave the service an overall customer satisfaction rate of 96.6 per cent. Staff helpfulness was rated at 95.9 per cent while the availability of information scored 82.3 per cent.

Since April 2008, the HWRCs have reduced the amount sent to landfill by 43 per cent or almost 6,500 tonnes a year – saving the Council nearly £400,000.

Cheshire East is one of the best-performing boroughs in the North West when it comes to recycling, with more than half of all household waste collected by the Council now being either recycled, reused or composted.

Thanks to our residents, the Council is the eighth-best unitary authority for recycling in the UK and the second best in the North West.

Councillor Don Stockton, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of regeneration and assets, said: “These figures are more excellent news and I would like to thank not only our excellent staff but also, most importantly, our residents for working with us to make Cheshire East a cleaner and greener place to live, work, visit and do business.

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

“The feedback provided by residents was excellent, with some extremely positive comments relating to the levels of service and the helpfulness of staff. 

“We also gained insight into where improvements could be made, such as on-site staff wearing ID badges, and our contractor, HW Martin, is reviewing the results to see where more improvements could be made. 

“One key area the contractor is looking to improve in coming months is the flow of traffic on the Congleton site to make it a more user-friendly environment for our customers.”

All Cheshire East Council’s household waste and recycling centres (HWRC) are open seven days a week throughout the year including Bank Holidays and only close on Christmas Day.

For more information on exactly what can be recycled or about the facilities at the HWRCs please contact 0300 123 5011 or visit our website at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/recycling

ADULT LEARNERS’ WEEK

 

Crewe & Nantwich Training provider on a mission to improve careers of locals

In support of Adult Learners’ Week 13th – 19th June, the staff at Crewe & Nantwich Pitman Training Centre on Hospital Street in Nantwich are opening their doors to offer free advice and guidance to anyone interested in developing their skills, getting a promotion, planning the next steps in their career or looking for a new job this year, and join in with the celebration of lifelong learning.

With free tasters of a range of Pitman Training courses, 1-2-1 advice consultations on career planning, creating 5 year tailored career plans, Career MOT testing, CV writing workshops and recruitment support and advice on offer throughout the week, Manager, Allan Virr, is looking forward to meeting local people who are keen to keep pushing their own boundaries.

He said: “We pride ourselves on being advocates of lifelong learning, and genuinely believe in the opportunities it brings to change and transform lives. We ran our open week last year during Adult Learners Week and it was a huge success. We saw and inspired hundreds of people from all over the region, of all ages, in many different situations, and helped them discover how lifelong learning can help change lives.

Many of our students keep in touch and we’re delighted to hear how they’ve had success with new jobs, promotions and boosting their salaries, as a result of vocational training and taking on new skills. Our sessions are very informal and our friendly team has years of experience to share, so people can just come and have a chat.”

Feel free to drop in to the centre at any point through the week or alternatively, to find out more information on the career clinics available, you can call 01270 626 084 or find visit www.pitman-training.com/crewe-and-nantwich.

Claire Lister, MD of Pitman Training Group is a huge advocate of lifelong learning, and having headed up Pitman for 17 years and now developing the International franchise expansion, she regularly undertakes CPD (Continuing Professional Development).

She said: “It’s essential, whatever your position, to continue to develop your skills. Whether you’re looking to move on, or keep progressing in your existing role, standing still is not an option these days. The corporate world moves so quickly as technology continues to evolve; working practices constantly progress, and new ways of becoming more efficient are always just around the corner. I love to learn new things and feel that this drive is key to success. I’d always encourage others to seek out new ways of improving their skills and to keep topping up their knowledge - it’s not just good for the career, it’s good for the soul!’

Adult Learners’ Week is an opportunity for individuals and organisations to celebrate the benefits of lifelong learning. Pitman Training has been synonymous with office based training since Sir Isaac Pitman invented shorthand in 1837, and the company now helps thousands of students each year progress their careers through tailor-made study programmes and Diplomas which are CPD accredited. One to one support is available at over 100 local centres, as well as via online courses, and short seminars to help top up skills. For more information see www.pitman-training.com

Minister’s announcement on HS2 gives huge boost to Crewe and wider region

 

Cheshire East Council has welcomed the announcement by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin that the Government is aiming to bring forward the construction of high speed rail to Crewe sooner than planned.

The final route has yet to be decided but the Council is delighted that the Secretary of State has called for HS2 to be ‘fast tracked’ and indicated again that Crewe could become the first northern hub for HS2 before the 250mph service continues to Manchester to form a new super-fast link across the Pennines.

Mr McLoughlin said in a key speech in Leeds yesterday: “I want to see if we can bring HS2 to Crewe faster than planned, subject to further analysis and a decision on the preferred route.

“I’m determined to deliver the benefits to the north as fast as possible. So I’ll prepare a dedicated Hybrid Bill in this Parliament.”

Commenting on the announcement, Cheshire East Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones said: “This is fantastic news and a real game changer – not just for Crewe and Cheshire East, but for Stoke, North Staffordshire and the whole region.

“The benefits to Crewe and the surrounding area would be massive in terms of jobs and the economy – but we want to share the growth and benefits with our neighbours.

“This Council has put in an enormous amount of work over the past two years to secure HS2 for Crewe and the prospect of an early hybrid bill, which could confirm Crewe as the northern hub, is something we look forward to with great anticipation.

“We want the right solution for Crewe that would enable the economic benefits to be enjoyed across the whole sub-region, stretching along a corridor from North Staffordshire to North Wales and Merseyside.

“The hub station in Crewe would act as the gateway to the Northern Powerhouse and HS2 promises to bring a second railway revolution to the town and utterly transform its economic prospects.

“Now we need to get on with working together with our neighbouring authorities to secure the benefits for all.”

In October 2014, Sir David Higgins, Chairman of HS2 Ltd, announced Crewe as the preferred location for a Superhub north of Birmingham. He also indicated it was hoped to deliver the northern section of the project five to six years sooner than the expected date of 2032.

Chancellor George Osborne dropped the hint in his autumn statement that the government wanted to see this happen sooner than initially planned.  He said the government was analysing the possibility of ‘accelerating’ construction from north of Birmingham to Crewe.

The entire project is estimated to be worth some £3.5bn a year to the south Cheshire sub-regional area economy.

Sixty-four thousand jobs are forecast to be created if the high-speed project arrives at Crewe, where there will be a boost to demand for homes and skilled workers.

Because of this, the Council is throwing its weight behind plans to boost education and training in the area to broaden and raise the academic and vocational skills and achievements of students.

Many Cheshire East towns including Northwich, Winsford and Middlewich, will see significant economic gains and improved rail and road connectivity. A ‘development corridor’ stretching from Northwich to Stoke-on-Trent will evolve from the scheme.