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Friday, 26 February 2016

Cheshire East to host Borough’s first ever Tour of Britain stage

 

Britain’s premier cycling event – the Tour of Britain – will hit the highways of Cheshire East in September, with a challenging leg which takes in the Cat and Fiddle A537 road, a steep climb of more than ten kilometres.

Cheshire East residents will be able to watch from close distance, some of the world’s most famous riders as they whizz through villages and towns, including Congleton in the south – where the event will start - and Knutsford in the north, where the 182 kilometre stage will finish in the picturesque setting of Tatton Park.

Top riders such as Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have competed in the past, but the complete line-up for 2016 will not be known until nearer the event, which starts on September 4, in Glasgow.

Cheshire East will host stage three of the tour from Tuesday, September 6, with the race reaching its climax in London on September 11.

Newly-elected Leader of Cheshire East Council, Councillor Rachel Bailey, said: “We feel truly privileged to be hosting this wonderful spectacle in the Borough and delighted that the Tour have selected Cheshire East to host this third stage of what is a captivating sporting event.

“As a Council we believe passionately in promoting healthy sports such as cycling.

“In Cheshire East we have well over 200 miles of cycle routes, including 167 miles of National Cycle Network, plus traffic-free routes, including the Middlewood Way, Wheelock Rail Trail and Biddulph Valley linear trails.

“All this is testament to our commitment to promoting this activity for families and to the enthusiasm shown by our residents and cycling clubs.

“We hope that this event will inspire many others to take up cycling, whether for sport or leisure.”

The stage will include a 10.5 kilometre climb into the Peak District, finishing at the Cat and Fiddle Inn, the second highest public house in England at 515 metres above sea level.

It is expected to be one of the toughest parts of the entire eight-day event. Another is the climb of Haytor on Dartmoor.

Spectators at the finish line in Tatton Park will get an added bonus as the competitors will complete a mid-stage passage through the park before returning to cross the finish line.

Race director Mick Bennett, said: “Stage three will present spectators with the chance to see the Tour of Britain race on more than one occasion.

“Tatton Park will be one of the best locations for spectators on this year’s route.

“Cheshire East offers competitors the gently rolling roads of the Cheshire Plain with some key climbs such as the Cat and Fiddle and we are working with our partners at Cheshire East Council to bring the Tour of Britain to as many of the communities in the Borough as possible.” 

Councillor Sam Gardner, Cabinet member for open spaces, said: “Events such as the Tour of Britain and Tour de France have generated huge interest in cycling together with the many other cycling events and tournaments that take place in Britain and abroad.

“The success of many of our Olympic and Commonwealth competitors has also stimulated a great following for the sport.

“Cycling is big in Cheshire and we anticipate a huge turn out at the roadside. And we are grateful to the Tour for selecting Cheshire East to host this third stage of the event.”

Revived in 2004 and last seen in Cheshire in 2012, the Tour of Britain will once again be broadcast live on ITV4.  There will be three-hours of coverage showing each stage plus a highlights programme.

The 2016 Tour of Britain takes place between Sunday, September 4 and Sunday, September 11. It is the biggest free spectator sport and followed by millions around the world.

Cheshire East Council will be making further announcements about the event and how residents and children can get involved by following the build up.

Watch out for further updates on the Cheshire East Council web site or visit: www.cheshiretourofbritain.co.uk

For further detailed information about the Tour of Britain go to http://www.tourofbritain.co.uk/

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Good Citizen Award Scam

Subject: The Good Citizen Award Scam


This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. 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)

Action Fraud has been receiving reports of an advanced fee fraud whereby suspects phone a member of the public and claim to be calling on behalf of the UK (or British) Government Grant Department.
They go on to state that the individual has won a Good Citizen Award – of typically £8,000 – and that the grant can be released for a fee (of around £210).
Fortunately, very few members of the public have lost any money as a result of this scam but have reported to Action Fraud in order to help build a picture of this fraud and protect others from falling victim to it.
Protect yourself:

  • There is no genuine ‘Good Citizen Award’ scheme in the UK that operates by cold calling “winners” and asking for an upfront fee to release a grant.
  • If you receive a call that claims to represent such a scheme, it is a scam. End the phone call – do not give out any personal or financial data.
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.

Roll up for a unique carnival experience like no other!

 

Ever dreamt of running off to the circus?

Well now is your chance because a circus performance like no other is set to entertain families in Crewe -- and you can be part of it, thanks to support from Cheshire East Council.

Known as The Lost Carnival, audiences will be immersed in a large-scale outdoor theatre experience said to be unique in the world of the performing arts and based on the grand circuses and carnivals from the turn of the 20th century.

Organisers are now recruiting people of all ages who want to be part of the fun and become involved in a serious volunteering experience.

A dedicated volunteer scheme is offering local people the chance to develop lasting skills and contribute to the creation of an extraordinary event. The first workshop takes place in Crewe on March 9 at the MMU Crewe Campus.

The award-winning production company Wild Rumpus, in association with the arts organisations Bury Met and Ramsbottom Festival, will stage the event over three days at Crewe’s Queens Park during the Spring Bank Holiday (May 28 to 30)

Organisers are hoping for an audience of 9,000 over the three days, with members of the public contributing to the development of the story.

Volunteers can play a key part in staging the production, which is based on a story of the revival of a century-old carnival event that became lost in time.

The Congleton-based company is promising ‘spellbinding theatre and enthralling entertainment, including circus, music, visual trickery and sideshows,’ all around the story of two battling carnival families competing for supremacy.

Cheshire East Council is contributing £10,000 to the event as part of its commitment to promoting arts and culture in the Crewe area, stimulating engagement among residents.

Councillor Sam Gardner, Cabinet member for open spaces, said: “This is a large- scale family event based on a unique and exciting formula of audience participation, imaginative performance, fun and laughter.

“The company has an excellent track record in producing high-quality, family-focused events involving local artists.

“The nature of this production meets all the aspirations of the Council’s three year plan, promoting interest and involvement in the performing arts in Crewe and helping to stimulate the cultural economy of the town.

“We wish them every success with ‘The Lost Carnival’ and hope the event will be well supported by families.”

Sarah Bird, director of Wild Rumpus, said: “We are thrilled that Cheshire East Council is supporting us and we look forward to hearing from anyone who would like to take part. 

“Our volunteering scheme supports emerging talent and new skills in a variety of areas, including the creative industries, logistics, production and catering.”

“Volunteering will offer the opportunity to develop skills, team working experience, confidence in an exciting and challenging role and the chance to be a part of a landmark event in the town.”

Wild Rumpus works in partnership with local residents, artists, suppliers, partners and key Council teams to create a legacy of strengthened engagement in arts and culture.

The company seeks support and involvement from volunteers, schools and colleges, libraries, museums and other organisations. Local arts groups are especially encouraged to take part.

Workshops will take place in advance of the event at which volunteers can contribute creative art, story lines and any other ideas of a material or digital nature that will feature in the final production.

The Lost Carnival is staged by Wild Rumpus (Just So Festival) and So It Is (Bury Met, Ramsbottom Festival.)

Anyone wishing to get involved can find out more information and apply via www.thelostcarnival.org.uk (this is the link if you’d like to hyperlink it http://www.wildrumpus.org.uk/lost-carnival-volunteering/ or contact Cathryn Peach, creative producer at cathryn.peach@wildrumpus.org.uk 07812 671 908.

The event will take place from May 28 to 30 at Queen’s Park in Crewe – tickets £12.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Protect Yourself from Bogus Websites

Subject: Update: Protect Yourself from Bogus Websites


This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. 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)

This is an update to a previous alert sent from Action Fraud in November 2015.
Fraudsters are setting up high specification websites advertising various electrical goods and domestic appliances. These goods are below market value and do not exist. The website will state you can pay via card; however when the purchaser goes to pay, this option is not available and the payment must be made via bank transfer.
The fraudster entices the purchaser and reassures them it is a legitimate purchase by using the widely recognised Trusted Shop Trustmark. They then use the Trustmark fraudulently and provide a link on the bogus electrical website to another bogus website (which purports to be Trusted Shops). This website shows a fake certificate purporting to be from Trusted Shops and provides thousands of reviews for the bogus electrical website. These reviews are all fraudulent. The website has not been certified by Trusted Shops and therefore the purchaser is not covered by the Trusted Shop money-back guarantee.
Protect yourself:

  • Check the authenticity of the website before making any purchases. Conduct a ‘Whois’ search on the website which will identify when the website has been created- Be wary of newly formed domains. You can conduct this search using the following website – https://who.is/
  • Conduct online research in relation to the website, company name and the business address provided to identify any poor feedback or possible irregularities.
  • Check the Trusted Shops Facebook page where warnings about websites using their Trustmark are published. If you are in doubt about the legitimacy of a Trustmark then you can contact Trusted Shops on 0203 364 5906 or by email service@trustedshops.co.uk. They will confirm whether they have certified that website.
  • Payments made via bank transfer are not protected should you not receive the item. Therefore always try to make the payment via PayPal or a credit card where you have some payment cover should you not receive your product.
  • If the item advertised seems too good to be true, then it probably is. 

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.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Fund-raising Weston Christmas Light Display

Reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

Photo caption: l-r Graham Witter - Nikki Wrench (Relationship Manager, The Donna Louise Children's Hospice) - Tracey Powell (Care Co-ordinator, The Donna Louise Children's Hospice)

Cheque - l-r Graham Witter - Nikki Wrench - Tracey  Powell

Graham Witter, aged 21, who is a BA (Hons) Business Management degree student at Manchester Metropolitan University (Cheshire Campus), setup hundreds of Christmas lights where he lives at Carters Green Cottage in Weston to raise money for charity.

His Christmas light display took place every day from 1st to 28th December 2015. The display covered farm buildings, a garden and an adjacent yard and contained a combination of rope lights, LED lights, animated 3D figures, 3D inflatables, along with background Christmas music. There was also a small wooden Santa’s Grotto and even a life-size Santa's sleigh. Santa himself even made an appearance every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and the last few days before Christmas. It took Graham six weeks to set it all up.

Graham raised £1,000 in 2013, £5,720 in 2014 and an incredible £10,280 in 2015. Thus, he has raised £17,000 in total over the past three years. For the third year running all the money will go to The Donna Louise Children's Hospice http://www.donnalouisetrust.org/ , who provided respite care for his teenage sister Jessica. Tragically, Jessica passed away on New Year’s Eve.

Nikki Wrench, Relationship Manager at The Donna Louise Children's Hospice, said, "We are really proud to work with Graham and the Witter family and their Christmas light display. 2015 was particularly poignant as Jessica passed away on New Year's Eve. All the money raised from the display will be in her memory."

Graham said, "I would like to thank all the local community, support from many local businesses and to everybody who has helped me to fundraise this amazing sum of money. This charity means an awful lot to me as they have supported our family for several years, and have been a lifeline for care and family help in many difficult circumstances. My sister who had multiple disabilities and needed 24 hour care peacefully passed away in December, and I am dedicating the 2015 light display in her memory and this money is being used to purchase equipment to help many local children. I will continue to fundraise for this amazing charity, as I believe after using the much loved services they offer that this money is being put to good use and I am helping them to keep the doors open. It would be great to see you all coming back this year for what will be another fantastic light display, and I hope you will tell all your family and friends too! I'd like to wish everybody a happy and healthy year!"

Tumble dryer fire risk - product recall alert

Subject: Tumble dryer fire risk - product recall alert


This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. 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

Caroline Jones (Cheshire Fire, Administrator, Cheshire Fire)

Tumble dryer fire risk

A potential fire risk with tumble dryers manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015 has been identified.   The affected brands are:
  • Hotpoint
  • Indesit
  • Creda

The fire risk is due to excess fluff which can come into contact with the heating element and present a risk of fire.
If you have a tumble dryer, please check your tumble dryer to see if it has been recalled.
If you believe you have an affected tumble dryer please stop using it immediately and visit this website to find out if your tumble dryer is affected:
https://safety.hotpoint.eu/
More information can be found on the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service website:
http://www.cheshirefire.gov.uk/news-events/latest-news/tumble-dryer-fire-alert

Initial tests at proposed waste site show no traces of phosgene

 

Cheshire East Council has recently completed site investigations on the potential new environmental hub site in Middlewich. These investigations included testing for phosgene and chlorine gas on the site. No traces of either gas were detected.

The checks were carried out from 25 January to 5 February and involved 189 test holes drilled across the site.

The tests, which were carried out by a specialist contractor with the approval of the Health and Safety Executive, checked for phosgene and chlorine gas levels measured in detection limits of 0.1 parts per million (ppm) or 0.0998 milligram per litre (mg/L) and no traces were found.

The location was originally commandeered by the Ministry of Defence during the First World War and for this reason, and for public safety, Cheshire East took the precaution of checking for phosgene and chlorine gas.

Councillor Sam Gardner, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of open spaces, said: “These were very extensive and thorough tests which demonstrated our determination to ensure that the site is safe and that there is no risk to public health.”

“This hub will result in tremendous economic growth for the area, with the creation of jobs producing the natural knock-on effect of more money being spent in Middlewich.”

Future works will continue to be supported by monitoring for the target substances and metal detector screening for buried features.

Council set to increase the money it pays to care providers

 

Care providers in Cheshire East are set to be paid more by the Council to reflect the important work that they do supporting vulnerable and older people.

The Council is also continuing to phase out 15-minute domiciliary care visits, a pledge it made in 2015.

The recommendations will go before the next full Council meeting on February 25 following approval by the recent meeting of Cabinet.

A further recommendation is that care provision funding continues if a resident is in hospital for up to two weeks in order that continuity with care staff is maintained. 

This should avoid any unnecessary delay in discharge from hospital.  

An extra £5.44million is to be found to increase the rates paid to providers, including domiciliary care agencies, residential and nursing care homes and direct payments to residents. 

In the care home sector, providers can expect to benefit from fee increases of up to 13.5 per cent.

Care fees paid by Cheshire East have remained at the same level since April 2009.

They were last reviewed in 2013 when it was decided they should remain unchanged.

Fees for 30 minutes visits will rise by an average of 6.46 per cent, for 45 minute calls by 6.85 per cent and for hour-long visits by 21.12 per cent.  New rates will range from £8.20 to £14.20.

Direct payments will also be increased by an average of 16.3 per cent.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cabinet member in charge of adult social care and well being, said: “The Care Act places additional requirements on the Council to adopt a formal approach to its fee structure and to take into account the cost of care locally.

“”We are pleased to be in a position to invest more money into our care system and we hope this reflects a requirement on employers to ensure staff are paid the national living wage.

“Cheshire East values the dedication shown by the care workforce across the Borough and we recognise extremely hard work they put in.

“We are also in a position to deliver on our promise of ending 15-minute care visits, except where residents expressly request short visits. 

“Most of the visits made in Cheshire East are for 30 minutes duration and in 1,650 cases visits are as long as one hour.”

Currently the Council spends around £80 million on providing externally commissioned care for some 5,600 adults who require support.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Council to issue packs, bags and a call to action in nation’s ‘Clean for the Queen’ campaign

 

Cheshire East Council is urging communities to ‘Clean for The Queen’ to mark the monarch’s 90th birthday.

The Council’s Cabinet agreed to promote a localised campaign to spruce up the Borough as part of the nationwide clean up drive to mark the big occasion.

A campaign will begin in March to promote self-sustainability and civic pride, with volunteer groups, supported by the Council, to organise litter picking and smarten up their towns, villages and neighbourhoods.

The Council will set up a fund of £7,000 to provide litter picking packs, including disposable gloves, litter-picker tools and high visibility vests.

This is over and above the fund set aside nationally to drive forward the Clean for the Queen campaign across the country.

It is anticipated that volunteer groups will continue to use the packs and maintain clean-up operations up to and beyond the Queen’s official birthday in June when UK-wide celebrations are planned.

Three days in early March (4 – 6), have been selected for the launch of the campaign.

The Council’s wholly owned environmental waste and recycling company Ansa will provide free bags for litter and collect them when full.

Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “We want to encourage existing voluntary clean-up groups to take part and inspire other neighbours and communities to do the same.

“We hope those taking part for the first time will continue to be active in this way and become potential community champions and leaders.

“We would like to see everyone doing their best to make Cheshire East litter free and I hope businesses, take-away food outlets and other organisations will play their part.”

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member in charge of communities, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Clean for The Queen and we would encourage as many groups, individuals and organisations as possible to take part. 

“Litter is an anti-social problem and councils across the UK spend in excess of £1billion clearing up every year.

“By taking part in Clean for The Queen, communities will not only be doing their bit to mark her 90th birthday, they will also give themselves a clean space in which to live, work and play and to be proud of.

“We want to help organisations and residents to get involved and would urge people to apply as soon as possible, to ensure they have their own kit together with their resource pack to help them with any questions around health and safety, good practice and first aid.”

Clean for the Queen is a national campaign and is the first anti-litter campaign since 1953.

More information about Clean for The Queen and the existing clean teams across Cheshire East can be found by searching Clean for The Queen at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Caption: Members of the Crewe Clean Team ready for action

Local Plan moves forward towards consultation and its final stages

 

Cheshire East Council’s Local Plan Strategy to shape development across the Borough up to 2030 has moved a step closer to being put in place.

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 issued his ‘further interim views’ on the submitted Plan in December (2015).

These broadly supported 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.”

Now the revised Local Plan Strategy is set to go before strategic planning board, Cabinet and for approval by Full Council in February, before further extensive public consultation. This will include additional and amended strategic site allocations.

The Council is due to submit the Local Plan Strategy, with any amendments, to the Planning Inspector in June 2016.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of the Local Plan, said: “The positive views expressed by the Inspector have enabled the Council to make amendments to our Local Plan with confidence and publish these for consultation.

“We therefore propose to take a report to a full meeting of the Council at the end of February, setting out proposed amendments to the plan.

“This will include a comprehensive suite of development sites to accommodate the larger scale of growth now planned for the Borough. Following a period of full consultation, during March and April, further examination hearings are expected to be held in early autumn.

“We are doing everything possible to progress the Local Plan and to speed up its completion. We are mindful that we have to work within the processes and timescales set out in legislation.

“However, with every stage we are working hard to bring the final adoption of the Local Plan a step closer.”

The updated evidence completed during the suspension of the Inspector’s examination necessitated revisions to the main strategic policies relating to housing, economic growth, development and green belt. The wording of policies was amended to reflect the outcome of the new evidence. The key points included:

● Revisions to reflect a revised housing requirement of 36,000 homes (up from 29,000);  

● Increased employment land requirement, up from 300 hectares to 380ha, to reflect the stronger anticipated jobs growth rate of 0.7 per cent per annum (up from the original anticipated rate of 0.4 per cent);

● Revised spatial distribution of development, incorporating both the uplift in overall development and the need for additional growth in the northern towns;

● Increase in the amount of safeguarded land within green-belt areas to 200ha;

● Replacement of the new green belt between Crewe and Nantwich with a revised strategic green-gap policy.

These revisions were endorsed by Cabinet on July 21, 2015.

To see the Local Plan Strategy documents suite, visit the link:

http://cheshireeast-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/planning/cs/hs/sahra

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Cheshire Fire And Rescue Service February 2016 E-Newsletter - Firelink

Subject: Cheshire Fire And Rescue Service February 2016 E-Newsletter - Firelink


This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. 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 February edition of the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service e-Newsletter.


Stonewall Top 100Stonewall Top 100 Employers 2016

The Service’s efforts to engage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff, volunteers and communities have earned it the title of the UK’s best emergency service in Stonewall’s influential equality index. It has ranked 13th in the 2016 prestigious Top 100 Employers list and is the best performing blue light organisation in the country.

This is the fourth consecutive year the Service has featured in the list, which assesses organisations ranging from local authorities to international investment banks.

Find out more - 13th proves lucky for equality trail-blazer


Cooking safety month

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service will be sharing cooking safety tips throughout the month of February. 

There are a number of cooking related dates throughout the month including Pancake Day and Chip Pan Safety Week.

Pancake Day

Pancake Day is the day when people reach for the frying pan, lemon and sugar - but some end up needing the fire and rescue service too.

When making pancakes, never leave any cooking or kitchen appliances unattended. It only takes a few seconds for an unattended pan or cooker to catch fire.

Read our pancake day safety advice

Chip Pan Safety Week

Reduce the chance of having a fire in your home by throwing away your chip pan for chip pan safety week.

Please do not use traditional chip pans, because they can cause fatal fires. There are other options for cooking chips which will keep you and your family safer. Please choose an alternative to chip pans.

Read our chip pan safety advice


Valentine's Day safety advice

We are urging members of the public to stay safe in the home on Valentine's Day by following a few simple fire safety tips.

If you are planning a romantic candle-lit meal on Valentine’s Day be aware of the dangers of naked flames.

Read our Valentine's Day safety advice


Biker Down courses

If you were the first on the scene of an accident involving a biker, would you know what to do? Would you know who is most at risk, how to protect the area or whether you should remove the helmet of a downed rider?

Actions taken in the first few moments after an accident can be crucial in minimising injuries and can make a real difference to the lives of those involved, but there can be some uncertainty about what to do in these situations.

We are holding a number of Biker Down training courses this year. For dates and details please visit our website.

Find out more - Biker Down

Reasons to be cheerful! Cheshire East named ‘happiest place’ in England

 

Cheshire East has been named as the happiest place to live in England.

It polled a fantastic fifth place in the whole of the UK in the Office for National Statistics’ happiness survey – and was placed number one outside Scotland.

People living in the Western Isles in Scotland are on average the happiest in the UK, according to a major Whitehall study. 

An analysis based on a survey of more than 300,000 people across Britain by the Office for National Statistics found East Cheshire was only pipped to the title of happiest place to live in Britain by three Scottish island regions and the Scottish Highlands. 

Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, said he was delighted by this national recognition – but not surprised.

He said: “This is wonderful news and confirms what we have been saying for some time – that Cheshire East is a fabulous place to live, work, visit and do business.

“It has a very strong local economy, vibrant communities, fantastic schools and beautiful towns, villages and countryside – no wonder it puts a smile on people’s faces.

“There is so much to celebrate and enjoy about living in Cheshire East that I’m not surprised this survey has highlighted it on the national stage.”

The study, carried out by the Office for National Statistics, asked people to rate their happiness on a scale of one to 10 in the three-year study between 2012-2015, with 0-4 classed as 'low' and 9-10 as 'very high'. 

Cheshire East’s national recognition in this survey is not the first plaudit for the Borough:

Cheshire East has already been named ‘Best in the North West’ two years running and has a number of notable ‘firsts’ and high placings, both nationally and in the region:

● Best place to live in the North West, two years running (Halifax Quality of Life survey);

● Cheshire East’s schools are the second best in England (ranking based on performance in Ofsted inspections);

● First local authority to supply energy direct to the public since gas and electricity were nationalised in 1948. This Fairerpower scheme has saved residents more than £1m in total since its launch in March 2015;

● Cheshire is ‘best place’ in country for starting up a rural business (CLA report);

● Best place to start a family – Bollington (PropertyDetective.com report);

● Best place to both start and raise a family – Poynton (PropertyDetective.com report);

● Best in the North West for our low Neets (Not in employment, education or training) figure for youngsters;

● Local Authority Adoption Service of the Year in 2013/14 – as part of Four4Adoption collaboration;

● One of the fastest rollouts of superfast broadband in the country – taking provision to 96 per cent by the end of 2015 – and aiming for 98 per cent by 2017;

● 18,000+ businesses – more per head than even Manchester Council.

Boost for Sandbach and Audlem as neighbourhood plans pass key milestone

 

Neighbourhood plans for Sandbach and Audlem have successfully passed a key milestone on their way to giving local communities a greater say in development decisions.

Sandbach Neighbourhood Plan and Audlem Neighbourhood Plan have both been given the green light by a planning examiner.

Sandbach Town and Audlem Parish councils are among the first in Cheshire East to take up the new neighbourhood planning powers and, following independent examination, the examiner has declared their plans meet and pass all the relevant tests.

This means that, subject to some modifications, the plans can now move forward to local referenda, where residents of each community can vote on their local neighbourhood plan.

If each referendum is successful, the policies in each plan will be brought into full effect and used when Cheshire East Council considers planning applications in Sandbach and Audlem.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of housing and planning, said: “It is excellent that we are now at a stage where there will be a democratic process to decide if the proposed plans are robust and appropriate for the communities of Audlem and Sandbach.

“To have got to this stage is an achievement for both communities and their neighbourhood plan steering groups and I’d like to congratulate everyone involved on all the hard work that’s been put in to reach this point.

“Sound and robust neighbourhood plans can allow communities to take ownership of planning policy, which directly impacts on their lives. They enable local people to develop policies to address those planning matters that affect not only their interests but also wellbeing.

“The next steps are to put the Sandbach and Audlem neighbourhood plans to their local residents and ask if they would like it to be used to inform and shape planning decisions. If half or more of those that vote are in favour of the plan, Cheshire East will formally ‘adopt’ it and bring it into force.

“We look forward to supporting our growing number of neighbourhood planners to get to the same point.”

The communities of Sandbach and Audlem have been part of the plan-making process from the beginning and have designed plans that are unique to each local area.

The Audlem and Sandbach neighbourhood plans contain a number of policies specifically designed to shape local development.

Both plans were created to safeguard the long-term development of each town. The Sandbach Neighbourhood Plan focuses on delivering local employment and protecting wildlife and green spaces around the town, while the Audlem plan emphasises good design and meeting the housing needs of local residents.

It is anticipated that referenda in Sandbach and Audlem will be held in the spring.

A51 London Road to benefit from highway improvements

 

The A51 London Road through Stapeley and Walgherton is to undergo improvements and repairs.

Cheshire East Highways is replacing road markings and patching London Road between the junctions of Back Lane and Checkley Lane for five days, from February 15-19. Gully cleansing and drainage repairs will also take place in this location.

To allow works to take place safely, London Road will be closed between the Peter Destapleigh Way/Elwood Way junction, Stapeley and the A525 in Woore. Works are planned between 9.30am and 3.30pm during the February school half-term holiday to ensure peak travel hours remain unaffected and disruption is minimised. Any winter maintenance gritting activities will be unaffected.

A diversion route will be put in place to help traffic flow during the work. It will be signed via the A529 and A525, also operating in reverse. This route will be mapped out using variable message signs.

Emergency access will be maintained at all times and local residents and businesses have been informed. 

Businesses located on London Road will be open as usual and staff will be available at the closure points to arrange entrance and exit to both properties and businesses. Traffic marshals will be on hand to provide help and advice, as first point of contact, to members of the public throughout the duration of the scheme.

Councillor David Brown, Cabinet member in charge of highways, said: “In order to minimise disruption, we’ve taken a decision to do this during the school half-term to make access available at peak hours. We will be carrying out gully emptying so that we do not have to return in the near future.”

Keep up to date with the latest developments via the @CECHighways twitter account and online at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/highways

Any queries can also be directed to Cheshire East Council’s customer contact centre at 0300 123 5020.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Advice for Flood Victims: Bogus Trades People

Subject: Advice for Flood Victims: Bogus Trades People


This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. 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)

In December 2015 the UK was hit by three severe storms resulting in widespread flooding across the North of England and Scotland.
The NFIB would like to make flood victims aware of the possible threat that Rogue Traders and Bogus Trades People pose to them. Buying on your doorstep can be convenient. However, a salesman who uses clever tactics can pressurise you into buying something you actually don’t want or something that’s poor value for money.
Protect yourself against bogus trades people fraud

  • Always ask for identification before letting anyone you don't know into your house.
  • Check credentials, including a permanent business address and landline telephone number. The mobile phone numbers given on business cards are often pay-as-you-go numbers which are virtually impossible to trace.
  • Take control by asking the questions. Ask for references from previous customers or to see examples of their work.
  • Don’t sign on the spot – shop around. Get at least three written quotes to make sure you’re not being ripped off.
  • If in any doubt, ask the person to leave or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

If you do decide to buy:
  • Always get any agreement you make in writing.
  • Beware when filling in forms or when speaking to the salesperson, and ensure you don’t reveal confidential details that a fraudster could use to assume your identity or take control of your finances. This may allow a fraudster to steal money from your account or order goods and services in your name.
  • Usually, you have a seven-day cooling off period. So if you decide to cancel the contract, act fast.
  • Think very carefully about having any work done or goods delivered during the cooling off period. You may have to pay, even if you change your mind.
  • Never pay for work before it has been completed, and only then if you are happy with it.

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.

Council Tax Rise

Less than a year ago, the Leader of Cheshire East Council, Councillor Michael Jones told the full council, the Conservative-led authority planned not just to freeze council tax for 2015/16 but for the following year also.

"This would be the sixth consecutive year with no increase," he said

“We are the first council in the country to do this,” he told the meeting at Sandbach Town Hall.

As with so many of Cllr Jones promises, this promise was just hot air.The Tories went into the election only months ago promising no Council Tax increases for two years but now they are going to increase Council tax by nearly 4%.Most people have not had a increase in their wage/salary for years. They have to make do with what they have and make savings where they can.The Council should be doing the same. 

Last year I voted for no Council Tax increase and would do the same this year if I had the opportunity. UKIP believe in keeping the Council Tax down.I hope that the opposition groups vote against this increase but I won't hold my breath.None of the current Cheshire East Councillors seriously want to keep the Council Tax down. It is about time that Cheshire East slashed the fat cat salaries that go on rising and cut out wasteful spending. For example, they have spent £5 million and an incredible 7 years on the non existent Local Plan.

It is no wonder that residents are cynical about those Conservative politicians who scatter down promises like confetti before an election but  then proceed to do the opposite when the votes  have been safely counted.It is a great shame that there aren't annual elections in Cheshire East.

If there was, the electors  would be able to throw out the Councillors who have so blatantly broken their promises and let down their constituents.

Yours faithfully,

Cllr Brian Silvester

UKIP Councillor

Nantwich, Cheshire

The Andrews Panto & Plays Society (TAPPS)

Reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

The Andrews Panto & Plays Society (TAPPS) recently performed the pantomime 'Jack and the Beanstalk' at St Andrew's Church Hall, Bedford Street, Crewe.

Part of the profits from the panto - £150 - have been given to cancer research and awareness charity 'Cancer Research UK'.

The cheque was gratefully received by John Pass, Chairman, Crewe and Nantwich Support Group for Cancer Research UK http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/content/crewe-nantwich-local-committee

John Pass said, "This is a very timely donation as this year is a leap year and the Crewe and Nantwich Support Group have a programme of events especially for this year called 'Leap into Action’ for Cancer Research UK. This is a very welcome boost to our activities."

Fred Allman, TAPPS director/organiser, said, "We are a non-profit society so after any of our productions we divide profits between St Andrew's Church and local or national charities. This time our chosen charity is Cancer Research UK and we are pleased to donate to this deserving cause".

TAPPS was formed in November 2014. Along with stage productions TAPPS also have a social side which includes theatre visits, country walks and dining out. If you are interested in joining TAPPS please contact Fred Allman on telephone number: 07968829999.

John Pass (left) receives the cheque from Fred Allman  (right) with the panto cast

Health concerns for girls over teenage drinking

 

The findings of a new national survey have revealed very high levels of alcohol consumption by 15-year-olds in Cheshire East, with local teenage girls in particular reporting much higher levels of alcohol use than elsewhere in the country.

The survey, which questioned more than 2,100 young people aged 15 across Cheshire East, found that ten per cent of girls are drinking alcohol regularly and 24 per cent of girls say they have been drunk in the past four weeks.

Boys also reported higher than average levels of alcohol consumption for England, with 8 per cent drinking regularly and 14.5 per cent being drunk in the past four weeks.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of children and families, said: “Regular drinking and getting drunk have become a normal part of life for too many teens in Cheshire East. 

“Parents need to understand the harm that alcohol is doing within their families. Parental influence can have a huge impact on the drinking behaviour of their children, both positive and negative.”

Cllr Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of health and care in the community, said: “It is important that all local residents understand the risks and the harm of drinking alcohol, not only to their own health and wellbeing but also the social impacts within our local community.”

Dr Heather Grimbaldeston, Director of Public Health for Cheshire East, said: “Excessive drinking leads to a range of serious long-term physical and mental health problems for our teenagers, particularly girls, as well as leaving them vulnerable to violence and sex assaults”.

“We have a number of services around Cheshire East where young people and/or their parents can get information, advice and support on alcohol consumption.”

The following are sources that can be used for support:

• The Cheshire East substance misuse service ‘stepping stones’ supports both adults and young people for parents and carers who have concerns about either their child’s or their own alcohol abuse. Visit: www.cwp.nhs.uk/services/2540-cheshire-east-substance-misuse-service. As part of the stepping stones service young people will receive information and support directly from Catch22 www.catch-22.org.uk/

• Individuals can contact Stepping Stones directly (referrals are also made by GPs, Social Care, Hospitals)

• Stepping Stones leaflet www.cwp.nhs.uk/drug-and-alcohol/2571-cheshire-east-substance-misuse-service

• Further information about alcohol and the harmful effects of alcohol is available via NHS Choices www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/2595.aspx?categoryid=62/ and Change for Life www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/alcohol-health-harms.aspx

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Best in the North West for training and education in Cheshire East

 

Cheshire East Council has been declared best in the North West - and fourth nationally – for providing education and training opportunities to youngsters aged 16 and 17.

The Government’s September Guarantee scheme requires local authorities to find education and training opportunities for every young person within this age range. It is responsive to the needs of young people today offering apprenticeships, training opportunities and further education in school sixth forms and colleges.

In Cheshire East, 7,630 young people (99.4 per cent) are successfully being engaged in the scheme.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cheshire East Council cabinet member in charge of children and families, said: “I am tremendously proud of these figures which demonstrate the outstanding work that colleagues are doing to give our young people the best possible start to their working lives.”

The achievement was made possible by the work of the Council’s youth support service team which works to engage with young people in the Borough in addition to developing strong partnerships with schools, colleges and training providers.

This news supports the Council’s children and young people’s plan which can be found by visiting www.cheshireeast.gov.uk and searching for children’s trust.

The plan strives to ensure all children and young people leave school with the best skills and qualifications they can achieve and the life skills to support them in the workplace.

Council’s parking enforcement teams to trial body cameras

 

Aggressive motorists who challenge and threaten enforcement officers may soon find their behaviour is caught on camera.

Cheshire East Council’s parking enforcement teams may be issued with body cameras in line with many other local authorities, in a bid to protect themselves in the event of volatile parking disputes. 

Use of the cameras is to be trialled by a small number of enforcement officers and if they are found to be of value, the Council may choose to issue them on a regular basis to all members of the civil enforcement team.

The Council says it is about protecting Cheshire East residents as well as the Council’s traffic patrols.

The civil enforcement officers are responsible for enforcing parking regulations both on street and off street and occasionally become the target for abuse.

The cameras would capture crucial evidence in the event of a confrontation or assault and it is hoped their use will deter motorists or members of the public from using abusive behaviour towards civil enforcement officers.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member for communities and enforcement, said: “We are an enforcing authority and we will not tolerate the appalling behaviour and abuse that some of our enforcement offices have been subjected to.

“Fortunately incidents of abuse or violence towards our teams in Cheshire East are few and far between.

“However, we cannot deny that there have been one or two pretty unpleasant events where capturing the evidence on camera would have helped to prosecute an offender.

“Our civil enforcement officers do an excellent job in enforcing parking regulations for the benefit of our residents, some of whom have expressed their frustrations to the Council when witnessing motorists who flagrantly breach on-street and off-street parking orders, including taking up blue badge spaces for the disabled.

“They also do an excellent job in helping the public with advice and information, even first aid, and do not deserve to suffer abuse or assault.”

Many authorities across the country are now using body worn cameras and they are known to prove extremely effective in reducing the number of incidents involving abusive and aggressive behaviour.

The Council will trial the cameras for an indeterminate period before deciding if they should be used on a permanent basis. 

Cheshire East visitor economy sees another leap in hotel business

 

Cheshire East’s hospitality industry enjoyed a boom year with hotel room bookings rising by 2.1 per cent in 2015.

The increase shows the Borough did better than Cheshire West, Liverpool, York and Warrington.

Cheshire East has enjoyed year-on-year success in its hotel and guest house sector with an increase in hotel occupancy rates of 14 per cent since 2012, compared with a national increase of 7.8 per cent.

Hotel and guest house occupancy increased for the fourth year running, rising from 59.9 per cent in 2012 to 75.6 per cent in 2015.

The number of bed nights rose to nearly 447,000, compared to 426,000 in 2014.

The Borough’s hospitality economy has continued in an upward spiral since 2009, when it was worth £152m compared with £218m in 2014, while the overall visitor economy is worth a staggering £800m to the Borough, with huge spin-off benefits to local businesses.

A wide range of events and attractions are credited for the Borough’s hospitality and tourism performance, from canal boating to wedding fairs and venues, artisan markets, cultural festivals and even brewery trails.

The prospect of staging a leg of the famous Tour of Britain cycle race later this year is certain to give an added injection of income to the industry and celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday will also generate additional investment.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member in charge of communities, said: “This is fantastic news and sends out the message that there is always a warm welcome here in Cheshire East.

“I congratulate our hoteliers and guest house owners, who continue to raise the bar in standards so that our visitors know they will get quality accommodation with a smile and that here in Cheshire East there is plenty to do and see throughout the year.”

Other factors which have added to the rising numbers of visitors are the RHS Flower Show, the agricultural and trade shows and the Borough’s proximity to Liverpool, Manchester and Manchester Airport. Last year’s Tour de France cycling event through Yorkshire also helped to boost visitor numbers.

Hoteliers and guest houses reaped a 5.1 per cent rise in room revenue, with guests prepared to pay more for their accommodation, reflecting a £2.59 average increase per room.

Monday, 1 February 2016

"Your Package Has Been Seized" Royal Mail Scam Email

Subject: "Your Package Has Been Seized" Royal Mail Scam Email


This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. 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)

Fraudsters are sending out virus infected emails that claim a package has been seized by HM Revenue & Customs upon arrival into the United Kingdom. The official looking scam emails claiming to be from Royal Mail contain a link to a document which will install malicious software on your computer designed to steal credentials like account names, email addresses and passwords.
An example email reads:
Title: Your parcel has been seized
Royal Mail is sorry to inform you that a package addressed to you was seized by HM Revenue & Customs upon arrival into the United Kingdom.
A close inspection deemed your items as counterfeit and the manufacturers have been notified. If your items are declared genuine then they will be returned back to you with the appropriate custom charges.
You may have been a victim of counterfeit merchandise and the RM Group UK will notify you on how to get your money back. Please review the attached PDF document for more information.
Document (RM7002137GB).Zip
Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.
To help the spread of the virus, the email also says: “you will need to have access to a computer to download and open the Zip file”. If you receive one of these emails, do not click on any links or download any attachments and report it to Action Fraud.
Protect Yourself

  • Royal Mail will never send an email asking for credit card numbers or other personal or confidential information.
  • Royal Mail will never ask customers to enter information on a page that isn’t part of the Royal Mail website.
  • Royal Mail will never include attachments unless the email was solicited by a customer e.g. customer has contacted Royal Mail with an enquiry or has signed up for updates from Royal Mail.
  • Royal Mail have also stressed that they do not receive a person’s email address as part of any home shopping experience.
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

Sound financial control limits Council tax rise in Cheshire East

 

Cheshire East is set to raise its Council Tax by 3.75 per cent in order to invest in vital frontline services for residents.

A substantial part of the tax rise will boost services for the vulnerable elderly and young.

The Council tax increase on a Band D property will mean an increase of £45.61 per year from £1,216.34 to £1,261.95, which equates to just 88 pence per week.

The authority is re-assuring its 370,000 residents that its economy remains strong and vital front-line services will continue to be protected despite the toughest financial challenges the Council has faced in its seven-year history.

A greater than expected reduction in central Government grant has left the Council with little option but to introduce the first increase in five years. But it remains lower than many other authorities.

Councillor Peter Groves, Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “This Council is proud to have maintained a zero tax increase for five years. It is to be regretted that our excellent record has come to an end.

“This increase is required due to the change in national policy to shift the burden of funding from central to local taxation.

“Strong leadership and sound financial management have helped to offset higher costs but in time we will have to become even more resourceful in the way we deliver services, achieve our economies and minimise any future rate rises.

“The public sector must play its part to help reduce the high level of national debt and Cheshire East has responded to the challenge through a strategy of innovation and creativity with a relentless pursuit of greater efficiency and productivity.”

A cut of more than £16m in government grant in 2016-17 alone – far more than anticipated – has placed substantial strains on the authority’s purse strings. 

But through strong financial management, the Council is able to keep its proposed tax rise to 3.75 per cent. This includes the Government’s allowance of two per cent to fund adult social care pressures.

Many other authorities are asking their residents to meet a greater increase.

The Council recognises residents want to see less bureaucracy and its innovative local delivery business models such as Ansa and Orbitas achieve a high level of sustainable, quality services at lower overall cost.

Value for money, rather than cheapest price, is the fundamental principle behind the 500-plus local services the Council delivers for its residents.

Cllr David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “I congratulate our finance team on developing a robust budget in very challenging circumstances.

“This Council has never faced this situation before but, due to the effective way we have delivered services in recent years, we are in a far stronger position than many other authorities.

“I hope our residents will understand our position and recognise that, as a Council, we continue to deliver excellent value for money.

“While our increase is 3.75 per cent, some local authorities are increasing their council tax by 3.99 per cent with the prospect of the same level of increase each year for five years.”

A proactive, robust approach to economic development is shaping the future prosperity of the Borough so that the aspirations of residents, families and children can be realised.

Major infrastructure projects such as new road schemes contribute to this through improved connectivity.

In Cheshire East, unemployment is at its lowest for more than 10 years and the local business economy and private sector investment continue to expand.

Ofsted has ranked 92.1 per cent of the Borough’s schools good or excellent, placing Cheshire East second in the country.

The Council’s newly-created skills and growth company will lay the foundations for a highly-skilled workforce locally to meet the future competitive needs of business and industry.

Delivering a low-cost energy scheme through Ovo, Fairerpower has helped residents to save more than £1m in less than a year. More than 4,000 residents have signed up to the low-tariff scheme, which has helped to shake up the market and address fuel poverty.

Better recycling performances help to cut landfill costs, while the success of the Council’s innovative ‘best fit’ business model has delivered significant savings for the long-term benefit of residents.

The Council will enhance customer choice through improved digital technology, while the roll-out of superfast broadband continues apace.

These policies and innovations – embedded in the Council’s core strategy – help to make Cheshire East an attractive place to live, learn, work and do business. They ensure better value for money for local taxpayers.

Cheshire East intends to meet its commitments as a ‘residents first’ and listening authority and Cabinet will be asked to recommend the increase to Council at its next meeting on February 25.

For further information about the Council’s budget proposals go to http://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ecminutes/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=241&MId=5685

Or

http://bit.ly/1PQcHu3

Crewe cyclists to get new safe route with shared cycle/footway

 

Crewe cyclists are to have their own safe cycling route from the town centre to Leighton Hospital with the first phase of the scheme to be started on Saturday February 13.

A section of Bradfield Road in Crewe is to be converted to a shared footway and cycleway to provide an enhanced walking and cycling environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

Cheshire East Council’s highways teams will install the shared use facility between Parkers Road and Minshull New Road in the first phase of the scheme, which will take three weeks to create.

The works have been planned to minimise disruption, with work outside residential premises taking place between Saturday February 13 and Sunday February 21 from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Phase two of the scheme will begin on Monday February 22 and will be focused around the Bradfield Road, Minshall New Road and Flowers Lane roundabout.

That work is expected to take two weeks and will be carried out between 7pm and 6am when traffic volume is at its lowest.

Temporary traffic lights will be in operation to allow the road to remain open and safe for users. The lights will be removed at the end of each shift.

Personnel will be on site to provide help and advice throughout the improvement works and access for emergency vehicles will be maintained at all times.

Councillor David Brown, Cabinet member for highways said: "These improvement works will provide an enhanced walking and cycling route for our residents to enjoy. Please bear with us whilst these essential works are completed.”

Anyone requiring further information should contact Cheshire East Highways online at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/highways or by phoning 0300 123 5020.

German DJ SASH! performing at The Studio in Nantwich

Reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

SASH! - http://www.sashworld.com - performed at 'The Studio Nightclub & Entertainment Venue' - http://www.thestudionantwich.co.uk/ - in Nantwich on Saturday 30th January 2016.

SASH! have sold over 22 million records worldwide and have performed for over twenty years.

German DJ Sascha Lappessen flew from Dusseldorf into England especially for the one-off show, which was organised by VIP Promotions.

Before the show Sascha said, "It is always nice to meet people who have enjoyed my music from the '90s and beyond. It will be great to play in such a fantastic venue. I hope everyone enjoys my set."

Sascha posed for photographs with fans, then moved to the stage in the large music and stage area.

Sascha's set contained several SASH! floor-filling electronic dance music hit singles including 'Mysterious Times', 'Raindrops', 'Move Mania', 'Adelante', 'Stay' and 'Encore Une Fois'. He also played his latest single, which is a remix of 'Ecuador'.

The set was enhanced by a fantastic laser & light show.

Nigel Woodhouse, Director of Operations at The Studio, said, "We are pleased to bring this international DJ to entertain the people of Nantwich, Crewe and surrounding areas. At The Studio it is all about the entertainment. We hope everyone had a great night."

Sascha Lappessen introduces another floor-filling  recordThe Studio was full of clubbers