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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Cheshire East Council reaffirms its commitment to help and support the people of Bosley as police bring to a close their search and recovery operation

 

Cheshire East Council has reaffirmed its commitment to protect, help and support the people affected by the Bosley mill disaster.

Cheshire Police have announced the end to their search and recovery operation at the site of the Wood Flour Mill where four people lost their lives in July as explosions tore through the factory.

The site has now become the responsibility of the company. This follows the conclusion of demolition work related to the search and recovery operation, which has now been officially closed. 

Cheshire police has now withdrawn from the site and responsibility passed back to the owners WTL.

The families of the victims and those directly affected have been notified of this process.

Cheshire East Council will continue to support Cheshire police and the work of partner agency’s to establish the circumstances around this tragic incident and support the local community, going forward. 

Four people died and five were injured, in explosions and a fire at the wood flour mill in July.  Investigations into the cause will continue into the forseeable future with many follow up inquiries still to be made as part of the investigation.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of communities, said: “Cheshire East and all the agencies that have been working together since this tragic incident happened want to reassure the local community that they are doing everything they can to ensure a safe and effective handover of the site back to the responsibility of the mill company (WTL).

“We and our partners have been working to re-open Tunstall Road to the local community and businesses before the Christmas period and that task has now been carried out.

“The Council and its partners have had positive meetings with WTL about the requirements for ensuring the safety and security of the mill site – and we will continue to work with the owners to ensure this.

“The Council and its partner agencies would like to reassure the local community that we are doing everything we can to minimise any risk from the site to residents, businesses and road users through security and other measures.

“I would also like to reassure local people that we will continue to support the community of Bosley for however long it takes to restore and rebuild their community.

“At this time of year, as Christmas approaches, our thoughts are naturally with the families of those people who have lost their lives and all those deeply affected by this dreadful tragedy.”

The Council is leading a multi-agency shadow strategic recovery co-ordination group, whose main aim is to work together as a partnership with the affected residents and employees in Bosley and Staffordshire, to restore the community following the disaster.

Hoardings have been erected around the mill site and the majority, but not all, of the highway next to the mill has been cleared, as well as swept and cleaned.

Further work to make stable the cottages affected by the mill explosion will take place in January.

Until this is completed, a 10mph advisory speed limit will be put in place at the site to limit speed and vibration, alongside single-way traffic operating under traffic signals.

The Council is leading a multi-agency group to work with the residents of Bosley and employees to try to restore the community following the disaster. 

There are a range of sub-groups working to ensure that the individual needs of all those

affected by the incident are fully met. Their action plans cover three main impact areas:

● Community health and wellbeing (social effects);

● Environmental and infrastructure (physical effects); and

● Business and economy (economic effects).     

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Seahorse Swimming Club

Seahorse Swimming Club Volunteer Michael Roberts was given a surprise at the Club’s Christmas party, when he was awarded a glass plaque by the Mayor of Crewe Town Council, Councillor Dennis Straine-Francis, for his 50 years voluntary service with Seahorse, which caters for people with disabilities.

Michael, a former rail worker, started volunteering at Seahorse in 1965 and has had several roles on the Club’s committee including Chairman. While working on the railway as an engine cleaner, before becoming a fireman and then advancing to be an engine driver, he got involved with railway charity work, which supported veteran rail workers. Michael, has also served as Chairman of the Emmie Dixon Home, a residential care home for people with disabilities in Crewe.
 
In 1996, Michael was given recognition for his charity work when he was awarded the British Empire Medal. He retired from the railway in 1999 after over 30 years’ service. In 2002/03, he took up office as Mayor of the former Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council. During his Mayoral year, the Mayor’s Charity supported the Diabetic Society, the Air, Sea and Army Cadets in Crewe and Seahorse Swimming Club.
 
“It was fitting for the Club to recognise Michael's work and loyalty. He has showed terrific commitment, and as well as encouraging the swimmers during their weekly sessions, he has influenced many people to join the Club as volunteers. He continues to have a role on the pool side and currently serves as vice chairman.” – Gareth Roberts, Secretary.
 
Photo - Michael being presented with his award by the Mayor of Crewe Town Council.

MP,s 167 Bulletin


Welcome to this, my 167th news bulletin.Remembrance Sunday image by Peter Wigley
At the end of the year, I've been looking back over 2015, and reflecting on all of the things that have changed since my last Christmas news bulletin.
It’s already seven months since the British people went to the polls at the General Election, and by putting a Conservative majority in power, they gave us an important responsibility: to deliver our commitments for opportunity, stability and security. Indeed we set out exactly that on the very opening page of our manifesto.
A manifesto shouldn’t be a wish list, it should be a checklist. That’s why we haven’t been tacking off in a new direction, but marking off the commitments.
In the past five years, we’ve turned the old approach on its head. We have made consistent arguments: that government living within its means is to ensure the economic security of every family in the country.
We’ve tried to live up to that challenge. Next year the deficit is set to be less than a quarter of what we inherited. By 2020, it will be gone completely.
And that strong economy allows us to deliver on our other commitments.
First: we said we’d maintain the amount of money that follows every child into school. And two weeks ago we did more than that, pledging an annual schools budget of over £40bn.
We’ve said to headteachers, ‘You control your budget, you decide on discipline policies, you set the ethos and direction of your school.’ And at the same time, we’ve said to parents, charities, businesses, ‘You can set up new schools in the state sector if you want to.’ Over a million more children are learning in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools since 2010.
Second: giving young people a good start in life includes giving them the choice of an apprenticeship, or a university. Over 6,000 apprenticeships have been started in Crewe and Nantwich since 2010. So that’s why we’ve expanded the numbers, and we’re making good on our commitment to reach three million apprentices trained in this Parliament by 2020.
We’ve been able to fulfil another pledge in our manifesto, to uncap university places, so we can have well-funded universities, and increased participation. In September, more 18-year-olds headed off to freshers’ week than at any time in our history – 200,000 of them – and more from disadvantaged backgrounds than ever before, opening up opportunity for all.
Our manifesto made another clear commitment: to create two million more jobs. In the short time since the election, 158,000 more people are in work. And in Crewe and Nantwich we’re doing our bit: I was at Bentley recently to see the first Bentayga SUV roll off the production line, creating more jobs both at Bentley and in the supply chain.
Third: we set out a huge mission in our manifesto: to create a million more homeowners. We said we’d give 1.3 million housing association tenants the right to buy. This autumn we secured voluntary agreement with housing associations like Wulvern to do just that.
Fourth: security when you’re raising a family. At the Spending Review we made £6bn of commitment to working families, with tax-free childcare worth up to £2,000 per child per year from early 2017.
But security for families also means having more money at the end of the month. We said in our manifesto we would not raise VAT, National Insurance or income tax for the next five years.
We’re phasing out slowly tax credits under Universal Credit, and as they go something else is coming in: a new National Living Wage. By April no-one in this country aged over 25 will earn less than £7.20 an hour.
Fifth: we pledged not just to maintain NHS funding, but to increase it. We have announced we’d deliver the first £6bn upfront next year. Plus, no more ‘wait until Monday’ for the care you need; no more, ‘we don’t do that at the weekend.’ Instead, security 365 days a year, 24/7, for every single one of us at hospitals like Leighton.
We’re also trying to do right by pensioners, who, for too long, got a raw deal. We’re increasing the basic state pension to £119.30 a week – the biggest real-terms rise in 15 years. We’re also bringing in the new state pension, whose full amount will start at £155.65 a week.
Now we’re not saying we’ve done everything, but day by day, we’ve been holding firm to our pledges and paving the way for the brighter future that people voted for.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Christmas, and a peaceful and prosperous 2016.

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.
Woodland Trust free trees scheme
The Woodland Trust have asked me to spread the word about their free trees scheme for schools, which is supported by the Government.
The new scheme offers eligible schools extra help with planting to encourage them to make their school grounds and local communities greener.
As well as free tree packs, there’s help with finding somewhere else to plant if there isn’t room in school grounds; and there’s on-line curriculum linked resources to support teachers’ lesson plans.
The closing date is January 8th 2016 and schools can apply via the Woodland Trust website, which is also a mine of information about trees, woods and wildlife.
Recently, I have...

  • Welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer to Basford, where he confirmed that Crewe will receive a High Speed Rail service, confirming the route and announcing that the benefits of HS2 will reach us six years earlier than originally planned.
  • Visited Royal Mail's Crewe Delivery Office to speak to postmen and women at their busiest time of year, and to thank them for their hard work in delivering Christmas to Crewe and Nantwich
  • Watched as the first Bentley Bentayga rolled off the production line at Pyms Lane: the culmination of a huge investment in technology and local skills, demonstrating exactly why Crewe is the home of Bentley.
  • Helped launch the Crewe & Nantwich Round Table's new Santa's sleigh. The new vehicle was specially adapted by Whitby Morrison, and is already helping the Round Table to raise lots of money for local good causes.
  • Presented awards to thank the talented artists, young and old, who entered my Christmas card competition this year, and congratulated the winner, Freya Buckley, whose brilliant design was printed on the front of my Christmas cards.
  • Handed a cheque for more than £3,600 to the Leighton Hospital MRI Scanner Appeal. A big thank you to everyone who sponsored me in running the London Marathon this year in aid of our local hospital.
  • Spoken at the launch at Crewe Hall of Project Crewe, an initiative of Catch22 and Cheshire East Council to find new ways of supporting local children in need. The project has been awarded £1.4m from the Department for Education Innovation Programme, and will transform the way that social services help children in Crewe and Nantwich.

Christmas Card Competition 2015
Christmas Card Competition 2015
It was great to present prizes to the many talented artists who were shortlisted in my MP Christmas Card competition (with special guest Father Christmas!). Congratulations to the winner, Freya Buckley, who is a pupil at Beechwood Primary School, and thanks to everyone who voted for their favourite design on Facebook.

Edward Timpson marathon run raises £3,700 for MRI appeal
Nantwich News: MP Edward Timpson has donated nearly £4,000 to the Leighton Hospital MRI scanner appeal after tackling the London Marathon, which he completed in three hours, 56 minutes and 42 seconds.

Construction on HS2 to start 'within next couple of years'
Crewe Chronicle: Chancellor George Osborne was at Freightliner at Basford to announce details of the Government's commitment to bring high speed rail to Crewe. Work will start in the next couple of years.

MP visits busy Royal Mail office
Crewe Chronicle: Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson has visited Royal Mail's Crewe delivery office to pass on Christmas wishes and encouragement to postmen and women at their busiest time of year.
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Copyright © 2015 Edward Timpson. Promoted by D Potter on behalf of E Timpson both at Churchyardside, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 5DE
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Thursday, 17 December 2015

Council warmly welcomes AstraZeneca’s announcement of £75m investment in Cheshire East


Cheshire East Council's Deputy Leader has warmly welcomed news that pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca is to invest £75m in the Borough. The money will pay for a state-of-the-art packing and warehouse facility at the company's base in Hurdsfield, Macclesfield – and help secure the future of the site's 3,500 staff.

 

This positive news highlights the continued success of the life sciences sector in Cheshire East – coming just two years after AZ announced its decision to relocate the majority of R&D jobs from its Alderley Park site to Cambridge.AZ's regional vice president Marc Jones said the news 'confirms the significance of Macclesfield as a major manufacturing facility'.Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: "This is fantastic news and a real vote of confidence in Macclesfield, its highly-skilled workforce and in the whole of the bio-science sector in Cheshire East."This significant investment will not only help secure skilled jobs and give a real boost to the local economy but also strongly supports the Council's vibrant Cheshire Science Corridor strategy.

 

"AZ's Macclesfield site is a key asset in the Cheshire Science Corridor – accounting for more than one per cent of total UK exports – and part of the Borough's thriving life science sector, which employs more than 7,000 people."  The news follows the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement last month that the government would provide £4m to establish a centre of excellence at Alderley Park to spearhead research into anti-microbial resistance (AMR). He also revealed that Alderley Park would form part of a new hi-tech science Enterprise Zone spanning Cheshire and Warrington.   

 

September also saw the launch at Alderley Park of a £30m Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund, which included a £5m investment by the Council.

While In July, it was announced 450 jobs had been created by 28 companies at Alderley Park since AZ announced its intention to relocate its R&D.

The new facilities announced for Hurdsfield will be built on the site of an existing warehouse and will feature packing lines for tablets and capsules and an automated warehouse. 

Demolition work has already begun and construction of the new facility will begin early next month.The company has also recently invested in a new sterile production facility at its Macclesfield site.

Cheshire East Council has successfully prosecuted the telecoms giant BT for endangering members of the public following works on the highway in Nantwich.


 


 

BT pleaded guilty to four offences in breach of Section 65(1) and (4) of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, which places a duty on utility companies to carry out works on the highway safely. 

The infringement occurred in June 2015, when a contractor working on behalf of BT began to repair a blocked duct at a signal-controlled junction. 

BT were fined £4,000 and ordered to pay all court costs at Crewe Magistrates Court. 

The court was told that a contractor for BT was working in an trench in line with a pedestrian crossing, which was still being used by pedestrians.  Insufficient management meant that pedestrians and road workers were not safely separated from passing traffic. 

This created a dangerous situation for people with disabilities, the elderly, children and those with pushchairs. 

A highways inspector from Cheshire East Council ordered the site to be cleared immediately and BT was prosecuted and taken to court. 

Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for highways, said: "This case proves the effectiveness of our permit scheme in the monitoring and enforcement of third-party road works. 

"We are committed to ensuring our residents remain safe when they travel around Cheshire East. Hopefully this case will remind utility providers about the absolute need to  work safely on the network."

The Cheshire East highways permit scheme was implemented in November 2014 and aims to promote better planning, coordination and monitoring of roadworks.

 

Monday, 14 December 2015




Subject: FiRELiNK eNewsletter for December 2015 from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

This is a message sent via The Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (England & Wales). This information has been sent on behalf of Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service
(Please do not reply directly to this email, please use the Reply button at the bottom of this message)
Message sent by
Ashley Lawton (Cheshire Fire , Administrator, Cheshire Fire)

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

Christmas safety

Subject: FiRELiNK eNewsletter for December 2015 from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

This is a message sent via The Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (England & Wales). This information has been sent on behalf of Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service
(Please do not reply directly to this email, please use the Reply button at the bottom of this message)
Message sent by
Ashley Lawton (Cheshire Fire , Administrator, Cheshire Fire)


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

Christmas safety


Give Santa a helping hand this Christmas by following his Christmas safety tips. Many of the things we enjoy during this festive period, such as the fairy lights, candles, paper hats and decorations, can all be fire hazards when proper care is not taken.
Find out more - 12 days of Christmas - fire safety tips

Don't drink and drive

The annual Christmas Drink Drive crackdown in Cheshire has been launched with a warning to motorists for the festive period.
The key message to drivers is: If you are driving don't drink! If you plan to have a drink this Christmas, please leave your car at home.
Find out more information - Don't drink and drive

Blue Light Collaboration


A major collaboration programme aimed at protecting front line emergency services has been given the thumbs up by Cheshire’s fire and police chiefs.
The ambitious plans involve bringing together most of the back office and professional services which support Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cheshire Constabulary and establishing a single, shared headquarters site by April 2018
Find out more - Blue Light Collaboration

Cheshire fire crews help out during the flooding in Cumbria


Cheshire firefighters, along with crews from specialist search and rescue teams and crews from other fire and rescue rervices, provided help in Cumbria during the extensive flooding across the region after the county took the brunt of Storm Desmond.
Staff from Warrington, Widnes and Congleton Fire Stations were among the crew that went to Cumbria, along with personnel from International Search and Rescue team (ISAR). Two fire engines, a rescue boat and a High Volume Pump were also sent.
The mission was to help in the efforts to rescue people from the devastating impact of the flood waters, and also to provide support to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.
Find out more - Cheshire fire crews help out during the flooding in Cumbria

Landlords reminded of new laws


We would like to remind landlords that they are breaking the law if they fail to provide their tenants with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Regulations which came into force in October mean it is compulsory for smoke alarms to be fitted in rented homes. Carbon monoxide alarms must also be fitted in properties which burn solid fuels.
They must be fitted on every floor of the property and landlords should check the alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy, with potential penalties of up to £5,000 if they don’t comply.
Find out more - Landlords reminded of new laws

It's getting cold! Is your car ready for winter?


Winter is the season requiring most care and preparation if you are to stay safe on the roads. The British winter is unpredictable. Bad weather can strike suddenly, so please make sure you are prepared for the conditions. Please prepare yourself and your car for winter driving.
Is your car ready for winter?

Give Santa a helping hand this Christmas by following his Christmas safety tips. Many of the things we enjoy during this festive period, such as the fairy lights, candles, paper hats and decorations, can all be fire hazards when proper care is not taken.
Find out more - 12 days of Christmas - fire safety tips

Don't drink and drive

The annual Christmas Drink Drive crackdown in Cheshire has been launched with a warning to motorists for the festive period.
The key message to drivers is: If you are driving don't drink! If you plan to have a drink this Christmas, please leave your car at home.
Find out more information - Don't drink and drive

Blue Light Collaboration


A major collaboration programme aimed at protecting front line emergency services has been given the thumbs up by Cheshire’s fire and police chiefs.
The ambitious plans involve bringing together most of the back office and professional services which support Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cheshire Constabulary and establishing a single, shared headquarters site by April 2018
Find out more - Blue Light Collaboration

Cheshire fire crews help out during the flooding in Cumbria


Cheshire firefighters, along with crews from specialist search and rescue teams and crews from other fire and rescue rervices, provided help in Cumbria during the extensive flooding across the region after the county took the brunt of Storm Desmond.
Staff from Warrington, Widnes and Congleton Fire Stations were among the crew that went to Cumbria, along with personnel from International Search and Rescue team (ISAR). Two fire engines, a rescue boat and a High Volume Pump were also sent.
The mission was to help in the efforts to rescue people from the devastating impact of the flood waters, and also to provide support to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.
Find out more - Cheshire fire crews help out during the flooding in Cumbria

Landlords reminded of new laws


We would like to remind landlords that they are breaking the law if they fail to provide their tenants with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Regulations which came into force in October mean it is compulsory for smoke alarms to be fitted in rented homes. Carbon monoxide alarms must also be fitted in properties which burn solid fuels.
They must be fitted on every floor of the property and landlords should check the alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy, with potential penalties of up to £5,000 if they don’t comply.
Find out more - Landlords reminded of new laws

It's getting cold! Is your car ready for winter?


Winter is the season requiring most care and preparation if you are to stay safe on the roads. The British winter is unpredictable. Bad weather can strike suddenly, so please make sure you are prepared for the conditions. Please prepare yourself and your car for winter driving.
Is your car ready for winter?

Winter Wellbeing – protect yourself from flu



Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to stay well this winter.

Free flu vaccinations are still available for people Public Health England has identified as being at risk of suffering from flu.

People over 65, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions can get their flu jabs from GPs and community pharmacies.

Children aged two, three and four years old are being offered the vaccine by their GP surgery and those aged five and six are being offered it via the school health service.

Health and social care workers are also having the jab to protect themselves, as well as their patients and clients.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cabinet member in charge of health and care in the community, said: “Cheshire East Council is urging residents to get their flu jab as soon as possible.

“While the symptoms are unpleasant, most people recover quickly. However, older people, the very young, pregnant women and those with underlying disease are at particular risk of severe illness if they catch flu.

“The best way to protect yourself and your family is to get the flu jab.”

Dr Heather Grimbaldeston, director of public health for Cheshire East, added: “We are encouraging people to contact their GP at the earliest opportunity and make an appointment.

“It is really important that people are immunised every year, as the flu bug changes each winter.

“Please don’t put it off or think it is not important. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people may see their GP and tens of thousands may be hospitalised because of flu each winter.”

Groups most at risk of flu are:
·         Over 65s and at-risk groups, including pregnant women;
·         At-risk groups cover those with a long-term health condition (e.g. diabetes), those with a weakened immune system (e.g. HIV or cancer patients), heart disease, chronic respiratory disease (e.g. severe asthma, COPD, bronchitis), kidney disease, liver disease, chronic neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and people in long-stay residential homes;
·         Carers;
·         People who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person, whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill. By getting the flu jab, carers also reduce the chance of them transmitting flu to the person they care for.

For further winter-related advice, please visit: www.twitter.com/cheshireeastcouncil

Residents can help friends and neighbours who do not have internet access by downloading and printing off information from the website and giving it to them.

Cheshire East welcomes inspector’s latest views on Local Plan


Cheshire East Council has welcomed the planning inspector’s latest views on the Borough’s Local Plan.

Following the resumption of the Local Plan examination in August and the holding of seven days of hearings in October, Local Plan Inspector Stephen Pratt has now issued his ‘further interim views’.

These broadly support the further evidential work carried out by the Council over the past 12 months in relation to the Local Plan.

The inspector noted that: “There is no doubt that Cheshire East Council has produced an impressive and comprehensive set of additional evidence within a relatively limited amount of time during the suspension of the examination.”

In terms of the economy, the inspector supported in principle the Council’s jobs growth estimate of 0.7 per cent per annum, saying that ‘CEC seems to have adopted a balanced and rational approach to economic and jobs growth, which is both ambitious and aspirational, yet realistic and with a reasonable prospect of success’.

On housing, the objectively assessed need (OAN) for 36,000 new homes was also broadly supported.

He said: “CEC seems to have reached a reasonably balanced judgement about the relationship between new jobs and houses, which is supported by the evidence and would result in sustainable levels of migration and commuting and patterns of development, in line with the guidance in the national planning policy framework (NPPF) and planning practice guidance (PPG).”

Other supporting evidence was also judged to be appropriate. The inspector noted that ‘The approach set out in the green belt update assessment seems to reflect national policy and address most of the shortcomings of the previous green belt assessment’.

The suggested amount of ‘safeguarded land’ was also considered ‘logical, rational, effective and justified by the supporting evidence’.

Similarly, the distribution of development was thought to be based on ‘sound technical and professional judgements and a balancing exercise, which reflects a comprehensive and coherent understanding of the characteristics, development needs, opportunities and constraints of each settlement’.

However, the inspector also stressed that he could not reach definitive conclusions on most of these matters until further consultation had been held and the site-specific aspects of the Local Plan had been examined.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member in charge of the Local Plan said: “I am delighted that the inspector has broadly supported the Council’s approach.

“With his endorsement in principle, we can now press full ahead in progressing the Local Plan to its later stages. The next step will be to present a comprehensive set of proposed changes to a full meeting of the Council before carrying out wide-ranging public consultation over a six-week period.

“I would like to thank all those who participated in the recent in the recent examination hearings and look forward to ongoing engagement as the Local Plan process continues.

“We appreciate that the inspector cannot reach any final views at this stage – and that the revised evidence naturally requires significant change to the submitted strategy. However we now have a clear sense of how to move forward.

“This shows that our diligent efforts over the past year have proved well worthwhile and I believe the Local Plan is now on a firm footing and moving in the right direction.”

Christmas houses this year.

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston
 
I enjoy the Christmas lights in the Crewe and Nantwich town centres, but I also really enjoy the over-the-top Christmas lights and decorations (including the occasional inflatable decoration) that some local homeowners setup each year. Their electricity bills must be sky high, but they never fail to bring a smile to my face!
 
My favourites so far in Crewe are located in Ravenscroft Road, Alton Street, Salisbury Avenue and Vincent Street.
 
My favourites so far in Wistaston are in Lear Drive and Westfield Drive.
 
My favourites so far in Nantwich are in Cope Avenue, Davenport Avenue and Barony Road.
 
There was also a Christmas car this year after Michael Cope from Crewe decorated his BMW with 1,000 lights!
 
My most favourite Christmas house this year is located in Alton Street (Queens Park end) in Crewe. The owner(s) have decorated their house frontage in a wide selection of inflatables, lights and Christmas scenes. For several years running they have clearly spent a lot of time and effort in choosing and setting up their displays.
 
I must also give a special mention to the ‘Weston Christmas Light Display’, which takes place at Carters Green Farm, Jack Lane, Weston, near Crewe every day in December until Monday 28th December 2015 (6:15pm to 9:00pm). Plus, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening and the last few days before Christmas, Santa will take time off from his busy schedule to visit the farm and sit in his sleigh. For the third year running money is being raised for The Donna Louise Children's Hospice http://www.donnalouisetrust.org/ . Last year an incredible £5,720 was raised for the charity and the money was used to help fund additional nursing staff and their training. To visit the display if heading from Crewe turn right off Weston Road (just after Crewe Hall) into Main Road towards Weston, then left into Jack Lane. If heading from Weston go over the A500 bypass bridge on Main Road and turn right in Jack Lane. From both directions look out for the ‘Charity Christmas Light Display 6.15-9pm’ arrow signs at the end of Jack Lane. https://www.facebook.com/westonlightdisplay
 


 
 
I’ve uploaded a selection of my photos to Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanawhite/albums/72157661789089910

The annual Nantwich Santa Dash

Nantwich Santa Dash.

 
Reporter J White 
The annual Nantwich Santa Dash took place on the morning of Sunday 13th December 2015.
 
Liz Southall from online community radio station RedShift Radio - http://www.redshiftradio.co.uk/ - compered the event on the town square. She thanked the sponsors, volunteers and participants for making the event possible.
 
The best dressed competition, judged by 1st Choice for Homes, was deservedly won by David Barley from Nantwich and Sally Tolhurst from Leek as they each dressed as a Christmas present box, complete with flashing fairy lights!
 
There was a warm up from an Instructor from Everybody http://www.everybody.org.uk/ , followed by a reminder of the two new routes (1 'lap' of 2.5km or 2 laps of 5km) around the town before the 200 runners moved to the start line for the 11am set off.
 
There were people dressed as Santa Claus, Mrs Claus, elves, inflatable Santa's, along with several Santa dogs. The last people crossed the finish line on 50 minutes.
 
Each finisher received a medal, chocolate, mince pie and bottle of water.
 
All proceeds from the event will go to Hope House Children's Hospices http://www.hopehouse.org.uk .
 
The race was once again generously sponsored by 1st Choice for Homes http://www.1stchoiceforhomes.com , with the chocolates kindly supplied by Sugros Cash & Carry, and the mince pies by Chatwins.
 
The course was marshalled by the Rotary Club of Crewe & Nantwich Weaver and teenagers from National Citizen Service (NCS).
 
Race Organiser, Hannah Penney, said, "We thank everybody for attending today's event. It was lovely to see so many people getting in the festive spirit and supporting the charity. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."

Christmas Carol concert in Crewe.

Reporter  Jonathan White, Wistaston
 
The Wistaston Singers performed at a Christmas Carol concert on the afternoon of Saturday 12th December 2015 at St Stephen’s Methodist Church on Gainsborough Road in Crewe.
 
Phil Houghton was the Musical Director and organist and also introduced each carol and soloist. Jane Hale was the accompanist.
 
There were readings by Jill Oakes (Micah 2, 4, 5), Peter Manning (St Luke 2 V 1-7), Jackie Stubbs (St Luke 2 V 8-16), Ann Handley (St Matthew 2 V 1-12) and John Saunders (St John 1 V 1-14).
 
The soloists were Chris White who sang ‘Where Did My Snowman Go?’ whilst playing the ukulele and dressed as a snowman! Chris also combined with Fred Allman to sing a hilarious ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. Liz Wood sang a haunting ‘Walking in the Air’.
 
Carols sang by the choir and congregation included ‘Once in Royal David's City’, ‘A Great and Mighty Wonder’, ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks’, ‘The First Noel’, ‘See, Amid the Winter's Snow’, ‘O Little One Sweet’, ‘It Came Upon the Midnight Clear’, ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’, ‘Torches’, ‘Good King Wenceslas’, ‘Angels from the Realms of Glory’, ‘O Holy Night’, ‘O Come, All ye Faithful’. The finale was a rousing ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’.
 
Refreshments were served during the interval.
 
Proceeds will go to St Stephen’s Methodist Church.
 
The Wistaston Singers were originally formed by members of the choir at St Mary's Parish Church, Wistaston in May 2000 and now number over forty members singing four-part harmony music. The choir perform a variety and eclectic choice of music ranging from choral church music and anthems, Gilbert and Sullivan items, music from the shows, music from modern composers such as John Rutter encompassing from the 15th century to the 20th century. They perform up to five concerts a year at various venues in south Cheshire. The choir is also available to perform at weddings in the area. The choir rehearse weekly in the parish rooms of St Mary's Church, Nantwich on a Wednesday evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. New members are welcome and further details may be obtained from Choir Secretary Jill Oakes, Tel: 01270 662940 and email: jillandjohnoakes@uwclub.net

Sunday, 13 December 2015

ABBA tribute band ‘ABBA Revival’

Reporter  Jonathan White, Wistaston
ABBA tribute band ‘ABBA Revival’ performed at Nantwich Civic Hall on Friday 11th December 2015. They opened and closed their show with ABBA’s breakthrough hit ‘Waterloo’. Their set was full of numerous other floor-fillers from the Swedish supergroup including ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘SOS’, ‘Super Trouper’, ‘Chiquitita’, ‘The Name Of The Game’, ‘I Have A Dream’, ‘Honey Honey’, ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)’, ‘Money, Money, Money’, ‘Voulez-Vous’, ‘Lay All Your Love on Me’, ‘Fernando’, ‘Take a Chance on Me’, ‘Ring Ring’, ‘Thank You for the Music’ and ‘Dancing Queen’.
The band consisted of John as Benny Andersson, Lisa as Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Nina as Agnetha Faltskog and Kenny as Bjorn. ‘Anni-Frid’ and ‘Agnetha’ sang in harmony and had several costume changes during the evening, whilst ‘Benny’ played an original white Yamaha CP70 piano and ‘Bjorn’ was a virtuoso on guitar. Stage props, which included a large flashing ABBA sign, and fantastic lighting added to the atmosphere.

Several audience members dressed up in wigs, flares, catsuits and platform boots.
The Hall was bedecked with snowflakes and flashing snowflakes suspended from the ceiling, and a large Christmas tree on the stage added to the venue’s Yuletide ambience.
The evening finished with a disco featuring several party classics. Tickets were only £10 and represented excellent value for money.
The event was organised by Warble Entertainment - http://www.warble-entertainment.com/ - in partnership with Nantwich Town Council - http://www.nantwichtowncouncil.gov.uk/
Event Manager Jon Mitchell said, "2015 has seen some well attended events run by Warble and the Nantwich Town Council. We thank everyone for coming along and supporting these events. We look forward to running more in 2016.”


Sunday, 6 December 2015

Council’s crackdown on benefit fraudsters sees more than £1m being clawed back for taxpayers

 

A Council crackdown on benefit fraudsters has led to more than £1m being clawed back for Cheshire East taxpayers and more than 50 people being convicted by courts this year.

The landmark figures were revealed as the Council successfully prosecuted three more people in the Borough for benefit fraud.

Since January 1, 2015, the authority’s benefit investigations team has uncovered more than £1.128m in fraudulently-obtained benefits – which is to be repaid by the offenders – and achieved 56 convictions.

The authority has also imposed 51 penalty notices and issued 55 cautions.

Cheshire East Council actively pursues the recovery of all fraudulently-obtained money to ensure the taxpayer does not lose out.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of communities, said: “A figure of £1.128m is a significant amount of money that is successfully being reclaimed for our local taxpayers.

“These latest prosecutions, and others like them, send out a very clear message that we are an enforcing Council and that crime does not pay.

“Benefit fraud will not be tolerated and we have continued to take robust action to protect our communities from those who abuse the rules at the expense of taxpayers.

“I congratulate our enforcement teams on their hard work on taxpayers’ behalf.

“The message is clear: people who think they can get away with claiming benefits they were not entitled to are making a very big mistake. Those who cheat the system will be brought to justice.

“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.”

The latest successful prosecutions against three offenders netted fraud totalling more than £19,800. They were ordered to repay the money obtained by deception in full and pay out more than £800 in fines and court costs.

Nikayla Thomas, of Cranberry Lane, Alsager, pleaded guilty before South and East Cheshire Magistrates Court, sitting at Crewe (on November 11, 2015), to making a false statement to obtain housing benefit and Council Tax benefit.

The court heard that Thomas, 27, had failed to declare she was in work when she made her application for housing benefit and Council Tax Benefit, which led to her receiving £6,426 in benefits that she had not entitled too. 

Sentencing magistrates imposed a curfew on Thomas between 8pm and 7am for an eight-week period and ordered her to pay costs to the Council of £450, court costs of £100 and a £60 victim’s surcharge.

In a separate prosecution, pensioners John Pullen, 71, and Lynette Pullen, 69, of Bollin Drive, Congleton, pleaded guilty before Crewe magistrates (November 13), to making a false statement to obtain housing benefit and Council Tax benefit to which they were not entitled.

The court was told the husband and wife had submitted a joint application form for benefit to the Council, in August 2011, in which they failed to declare that Mrs Pullen was in work. 

In submitting the false claim, the Pullens received £13,441 in benefits from the Council that they were not entitled to. 

Magistrates sentenced Lynette Pullen to 12 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered her to complete 200 hours’ unpaid community work, pay £375 prosecution costs and an £80 victim’s surcharge. 

John Pullen was sentenced to 80 hours’ unpaid community work and ordered to pay £375 costs and a £60 victim’s surcharge.

In all cases where an individual has been prosecuted the overpayment will have to be repaid in full. All three prosecutions were brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team.

If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, you can ring the National Benefit Fraud hotline on 0800 854 440. You don’t have to give your name and your call will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, you can report suspected fraud at www.gov.uk/report-benefit-fraud

'The Ultimate Christmas Party'

Reporter . Jonathan White, Crewe

'The Ultimate Christmas Party' took place at Nantwich Civic Hall on Saturday 5th December 2015.

Christmas hats and crackers adorned the tables on arrival to the Hall, whilst the Yuletide atmosphere was further enhanced by snowflakes and flashing snowflakes suspended from the ceiling.

Magician Dan Tril performed some mesmerising card tricks and close-up magic tricks around the tables to warmup the audience.

Five-piece band 'One Eye On The Christmas Cake' took to the stage and energetically performed a stream of floor-filling hits including All Night Long, Shake It Off, Domino, Get Lucky, All About That Bass, No Place I'd Rather Be, Shut Up and Dance, We Found Love, along with Merry Christmas Everybody and Fairytale Of New York. There was a release of balloons during Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You.

‘U've Been Framed!’ - http://www.uvebeenframed.me.uk - provided a photo booth to allow audience members to wear props and strike a pose in front of the camera.

The event finished with a disco until 12:30am.

‘The Ultimate Christmas Party' was organised by Warble Entertainment - http://www.warble-entertainment.com/ - in partnership with Nantwich Town Council - http://www.nantwichtowncouncil.gov.uk/

Event Manager Jon Mitchell said, “This year marks the first of two Warble events at Christmas with Nantwich Town Council. For £10 per ticket we believe it represented good value for money. We hope that everyone had a good night.”

The next Warble Entertainment event at the Nantwich Civic Hall is ‘REVIVAL – The ABBA Experience’ next Friday 11th December 2015 (tickets = £10, doors open 7:30pm). Tickets are available from Nantwich Civic Hall Tourist Information or by calling the Civic Hall Box Office on 01270 628633.

One Eye On The Christmas Cake perform on stage (2)Uve Been Framed at the photo booth

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Christmas light display in Weston

Reporter  Jonathan White, Crewe, Cheshire

The ‘Weston Christmas Light Display’, supporting The Donna Louise Children's Hospice, takes place at Carters Green Farm, Jack Lane, Weston, near Crewe every day in December until Monday 28th December 2015 (6:15pm to 9:00pm). Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening and the last few days before Christmas, Santa will take time off from his busy schedule to visit the farm and sit in his sleigh.

Graham Witter, who is a second year BA (Hons) Business Management student at Manchester Metropolitan University (Cheshire Campus), has setup hundreds of lights at Carters Green Farm to raise money for charity. He started to install the lights in early-October and several hundred plugs are required to hook up all the displays to the electricity supply. The display covers farm buildings, the garden and an adjacent yard and contains a combination of rope lights, LED lights, animated 3D figures, and 3D inflatables, together with background Christmas music. There is also a small wooden Santa’s grotto and a life-size Santa's sleigh.

For the third year running Graham is raising money for The Donna Louise Children's Hospice http://www.donnalouisetrust.org/ . Last year he raised an incredible £5,720 for the charity and the money was used to help fund additional nursing staff and their training.

Graham said, “My sister uses The Donna Louise Children's Hospice for respite care so I know what a fantastic job they do. My display is even bigger than last year and I would like as many people as possible to visit. I'd like to beat last years total and I want to encourage everybody to come along during the week. At weekends they can even have a sleigh-selfie with Santa. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."

To visit the display if heading from Crewe turn right off Weston Road (just after Crewe Hall) into Main Road towards Weston, then left into Jack Lane. If heading from Weston go over the A500 bypass bridge on Main Road and turn right in Jack Lane. From both directions look out for the ‘Charity Christmas Light Display 6.15-9pm’ arrow signs at the end of Jack Lane.

For further information relating to the display please contact Graham Witter on 01270 586754 or visit https://www.facebook.com/westonlightdisplay

I’ve uploaded my photos to Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanawhite/albums/72157659569009274

Graham Witter and part of his displaySanta in his sleigh

Benefit fraudsters brought to book over £20,000 fraud scams

 

Three fraudsters who falsely claimed a total of more than £19,800 in benefits have been successfully prosecuted by Cheshire East Council.

The trio will now have to repay in full all the benefits they obtained by deception.

Nikayla Thomas, of Cranberry Lane, Alsager, pleaded guilty before South and East Cheshire Magistrates Court, sitting at Crewe (on November 11, 2015), to making a false statement to obtain housing benefit and Council Tax benefit.

The court heard that Thomas, 27, had failed to declare she was in work when she made her application for housing benefit and Council Tax Benefit, which led to her receiving £6,426 in benefits that she was not entitled to. 

Sentencing magistrates imposed a curfew on Thomas between 8pm and 7am for an eight-week period and ordered her to pay costs to the Council of £450, court costs of £100 and a £60 victim’s surcharge.

In a separate prosecution, pensioners John Pullen, 71, and Lynette Pullen, 69, of Bollin Drive, Congleton, pleaded guilty before Crewe magistrates (November 13), to making a false statement to obtain housing benefit and Council Tax benefit to which they were not entitled.

The court was told the husband and wife had submitted a joint application form for benefit to the Council in August 2011, in which they failed to declare that Mrs Pullen was in work. 

In submitting the false claim, the Pullens received £13,441 in benefits from the Council that they were not entitled to. 

Magistrates sentenced Lynette Pullen to 12 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered her to complete 200 hours’ unpaid community work, pay £375 prosecution costs and an £80 victim’s surcharge. 

John Pullen was sentenced to do 80 hours’ unpaid community work and ordered to pay £375 costs and a £60 victim’s surcharge.

In all cases where an individual has been prosecuted the overpayment will have to be repaid in full. All three prosecutions were brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for communities, said: “Cheshire East is an enforcing Council that actively pursues the recovery of all fraudulently-obtained money to ensure taxpayers don’t lose out.

“Benefit fraud will not be tolerated and this authority is 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 very big mistake.

“They are now worse off as a result – as they now have criminal convictions for a serious offence of dishonesty and each faces a big bill to repay the money they fraudulently 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.”

If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, you can ring the National Benefit Fraud hotline on 0800 854 440. You don’t have to give your name and your call will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, you can report suspected fraud at www.gov.uk/report-benefit-fraud

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Elderly Targeted by Fake Police Officers

Subject: Elderly Targeted by Fake Police Officers


This is a message sent via The Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (England & Wales). This information has been sent on behalf of Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

(Please do not reply directly to this email, please use the Reply button at the bottom of this message)

Message sent by

Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

There has been a recent series of incidents whereby fraudsters either phone or attend the home address of elderly members of the public, claiming to be police officers.
The fake officer/s will claim that they are investigating a fraud which they believe the elderly person to be a victim of. The fake officer/s will then request the bank cards and personal identification numbers (PIN) of the victim and claim these are needed for investigation purposes. If the first contact was made by a phone call, the fake officer/s will tell the victim that someone will be over to collect the evidence. In one case the victim was instructed to attend their local bank and withdraw all of the money from their account. The suspect was left alone in the victim’s house whilst the victim carried out the instructions.
Protect Yourself

  • Before letting anyone into your home who claims to be from any law enforcement agency, ask to see their identity card and check it by calling 101.
  • Ask if they can attend at a pre-arranged time when a family member or friend can also be present.
  • If you receive a phone call from a police officer,  ask for their name and force and tell them you will call them back. Wait a few minutes and then use 101 to call them back through their force’s switchboard and verify their identity.
  • The Police will never ask for your PIN or passwords. Do not give this information to anyone.
  • The Police will never request that you withdraw/transfer any money to them.
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.

It’s coming! – Chancellor’s announcement on HS2 gives massive boost to Crewe and wider region

 

Cheshire East Council has hailed today’s historic announcement that the Government is committed to building HS2 high-speed rail via Crewe and will invest £5bn to help bring the project online six years early.

Chancellor George Osborne, MP for Tatton, made the landmark statement confirming the finalised route the HS2 project will take. It also confirmed that the northern section to Crewe would be completed by 2027 rather than 2033.

Cheshire East Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones hailed the announcement as a ‘game-changer’ that makes it certain that Crewe will get a HS2 hub station – helping create more than 120,000 jobs by 2040 and injecting £10bn a year into the wider region’s economy.

Cllr Jones also announced the Council is to establish a new regeneration company to deliver an economic growth strategy for the south Cheshire sub-region and seek Cabinet approval for the release of £500,000 from current budgets to deliver the HS2 programme. This strategy will be a key element of the wider Northern Gateway Partnership.

Previously the Transport Secretary had called for HS2 to be ‘fast tracked’ and indicated again that Crewe could become the first northern hub for HS2 before the 225mph service continues to Manchester.

Welcoming today’s announcement Cllr Jones said: “This is massive news and a real game changer – not just for Crewe and Cheshire East, but for Stoke, North Staffordshire and the region as a whole.

“This is not simply about high speed – it is crucially about capacity and connectivity. The benefits to Crewe and the surrounding area would be massive in terms of jobs and the economy – it’s a real once-in-a-generation opportunity, the like of which Cheshire East has not seen before.

“However, as we have consistently said, we want to reach out to our neighbouring local authorities and see the growth and benefits spread to them as well.

“This Council has put in an enormous amount of work over the past four years to seek to secure HS2 for Crewe and the new regeneration company will build on that.

“The confirmation of the HS2 route – which makes Crewe the logical place to locate the North West hub – is something we have been looking forward to with real anticipation.

“We want the right solution for Crewe and the wider region – 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.

“A hub station in Crewe would act as the gateway to the Northern Powerhouse and provide a vital link to the Midlands Engine. HS2 promises to bring a 21st century railway revolution to Crewe and utterly transform its economic prospects and those of the surrounding region.”

Mr Osborne also announced today that ex-head of the CBI busines group John Cridland would chair Transport for the North. This new body will look to improve transport links across the region.

An HS2 Superhub at Crewe would help deliver more than 120,000 new jobs and over 100,000 new homes across the Northern Gateway partnership area over a 25-year period. It will boost the region’s economy by £10bn a year by 2040 and also greatly increase demand for skilled workers.

Because of this, the Council has backed the creation of Crewe Engineering and Design UTC, which is due to open its doors to students next September, to boost education and training in the area and broaden and raise the academic and vocational skills of the region’s young people.

The mid-Cheshire towns including Northwich, Winsford and Middlewich, will see significant economic gains from improved connectivity.

The Council is working with Department for Transport and Network Rail to finalise the location of the new HS2 hub station at Crewe that would deliver both the needs of the railway and secure the levels of economic transformation to the Northern Gateway.

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 2033.