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Sunday, 30 July 2017

High quality organisation sought for special educational needs school


Cheshire East Council, in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE), has launched a search to find a high quality organisation to run a new special free school in the borough.

It is anticipated that applications will be received from organisations such as multi-academy trusts and specialist charitable groups.

The council is one of only 19 local authorities in the country which are inviting applications to build and run a new special free school. More than 1,600 school places are being created as part of this new initiative.

This is an important step to expand the authority’s range of provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) within Cheshire East. It is part of a wider analysis of where SEND school places are required across the borough, in order to reduce travel to out of borough schools.

The council has identified a proposed site – the former Lodgefields School in Crewe – for the construction of a new school and is now inviting applications as part of a significant national drive.

Councillor George Hayes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “Reducing the number of children that are being educated in out of borough special educational needs schools is a priority for us.

“We are committed to an ambitious schools development programme that delivers innovation, choice and higher standards for parents.

“Local authorities need to have a broad range of provision to meet the special educational needs of children and young people in their area so that, regardless of individuals’ needs, they all have an opportunity to make good progress. This is what we are determined to do and this is what we will aim to achieve.”

Air Quality Monitoring


Cheshire East Council is taking action to improve air quality monitoring procedures in response to concerns raised at a Cabinet meeting on 12 July 2016.

A report, received at that meeting, stated: “As part of the preparatory work for the 2015 annual report and return to Defra, a number of data inaccuracies have been identified that impact on the 2015 report and the 2014 report which has already been submitted.”

The council monitors nitrogen dioxide levels at approximately 100 sites throughout the borough as part of its ongoing work to improve local air quality.

Following the report, the council’s internal audit team undertook a full review and issued a number of recommendations which led to the commissioning of an external investigation.

This external investigation is now complete and the council is considering its response to the findings and recommendations.

The high level findings are:

1) Serious errors have been made in the council’s air quality data for 2012, 2013 and 2014. It is clear that these errors are the result of deliberate and systematic manipulation of data from a number of diffusion tubes.
2)The council has been exposed to unacceptable risks to the security of its air quality data as a result of failings within the service to ensure that adequate processes, procedures and systems were in place to manage this data effectively.
3)These errors have caused a number of serious problems for the council. These are as follows:

· Incorrect data has been submitted to Defra in an annual statutory return, which will need to be corrected and published in the public domain.

· These errors and other methodological issues have resulted in a number of deficiencies in relation to Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) requiring adjustments to be made to the detail of the number of AQMAs.

· The errors may have affected the Detailed Assessments (DA) carried out to determine whether an AQMA should be declared.

· The errors have impacted on Air Quality Assessments undertaken as part of the process of considering planning applications.

4) The data sets that are aligned to the diffusion tubes that were and are now known to be altered are spread over a wide geographical area, which implies that the manipulation was not motivated by a wish to favour specific sites.
5) Phase 2 of the external investigation included a review of planning applications where publication of revised air quality data may have affected the planning decisions. The findings indicate that such planning applications are in the following towns:

· Nantwich

· Congleton

· Crewe

· Holmes Chapel

· Sandbach

The statutory return to Defra for 2016 (Annual Status Report) has been reviewed and quality assured as part of the investigation.  As such by the end of this month the council will be in a position to seek the approval of the Director of Public Health for both the 2016 and 2017 ASR submission to Defra. Both the 2016 and 2017 reports are based on corrected data and include actions as recommended by the investigation.

The Air Quality team have reviewed their internal processes and procedures to ensure that the risk of data adjustment is minimised. There are now a number of quality control measures in place.

Sean Hannaby, Director of Planning and Sustainable Development, said:  “On behalf of the council I would like to sincerely apologise in respect of these findings, we would like to assure everyone that we have done everything we can to rectify these failings. It is worth reiterating that in July 2016 the then Director of Public Health assured us that there are no immediate health protection measures needed as a result of these errors and I have been assured that this advice still stands.

“We appreciate that it has been a year now since we first reported these concerns, but it was important that we ensured a thorough review and investigation into this important matter.

“Significant work has been undertaken to ensure that there are now robust processes and procedures in place. The planning service is currently analysing the relevant planning applications to assess whether any additional mitigation measures are required. Our council website now contains the correct data and supporting information and our annual status report for both 2016 and 2017 containing the accurate data will be submitted to Defra within the next few weeks.

“Consideration is still being given as to the council’s response to the investigation's findings in relation to any HR issues.”

Waste Reduction Volunteers Wanted


If you are passionate about reducing waste and becoming a partner with the environment then why not become a Cheshire East Waste Reduction Volunteer? Whether it is getting knee deep in dirt and worms or simply talking about recycling and food waste, this is a very rewarding position and truly makes a difference to the environment. The project is delivered by Ansa Environmental Services on behalf of Cheshire East Council as part of its waste minimisation strategy.

The aim of the Waste Reduction Volunteer project is to reach out to the wider community and inspire the public to change their thinking about waste. Our team of dedicated Waste Reduction Volunteers attend road shows and deliver talks throughout the Cheshire East area, speaking to the public about recycling, home composting and food waste reduction.

Every month brings a fabulous new opportunity, whether it's delivering recycling talks to the community, working with school gardening clubs, or chatting about Love Food Hate Waste at food festivals.

Each volunteer receives training, travel expenses and membership of the Waste Reduction Volunteer Reward Scheme and in return will be invited to participate in a number of local events and projects, throughout the year, choosing from a range of activities such as delivering talks, supporting their local schools, attending large events and shows, holding workshops and demonstrations.

Ansa Director, Councillor Geoff Baggott, said: “The Waste Reduction Volunteers are a dedicated group of individuals, who are deeply passionate about reducing waste in the community. It is a fantastic, rewarding scheme and new volunteers will always be welcome to heighten the impact of the scheme even more.”
Lisa Lowe, Ansa’s Waste Reduction Volunteer Project Coordinator, added: "I find it very rewarding to work with such a motivated group of individuals. They amaze me with their enthusiasm and extensive knowledge of food and home composting. The project is designed to be insightful, educational but most of all fun. It is always rewarding when the volunteers talk to me about the experiences they have had on the many events they have been involved with."

If you think you have what it takes to become part of our friendly, enthusiastic team please contact Lisa Lowe, Waste Reduction Volunteer Coordinator on 01606 288 942 or email lisa.lowe@ansa.co.uk

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Help save the local badger from the cull

Can you help us help our badgers this autumn? #StopTheCull

https://www.gofundme.com/catc-badger-saving-funds

Click here to support CATC badger saving fuel fund organized by CheshireAgainstTheCull .

Having enough funds for fuel is so important to keep badger protectors mobile during badger culls and going through a lot of fuel is easily done in this…

gofundme.com

Join the badger patrol http://www.crewenews.net/2017/07/wounded-badger-patrols.html

International pavement art festival heads to Crewe


The streets of Crewe town centre will become the canvas for an international pavement art festival next month.

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend (26-27), around 30 artists will be heading to Crewe’s Market Square to take part in ‘Chalk It Up’, transforming the pavements into a riot of colour.

The artists, many of them multi-award winners and world renowned, will be arriving from across the globe, including from the United States, Mexico, the Netherlands, Italy, France and the UK.

They will use chalk pastels to create impressive 12ft x 16ft pieces of artwork and will be competing for a series of cash prizes. During the weekend there will also be opportunities for visitors to give pavement art a go themselves, as well as a children’s competition.

The festival is being organised by Urban Canvas – professional pavement artists from Liverpool – in collaboration with Cheshire East Council, which is funding the event in partnership with Crewe Town Council and local firm Whitby Morrison, renowned ice cream van manufacturers.

While it is the first time Crewe has played host to a festival of this type, the town has a long history of pavement art.

Councillor David Brown, cabinet member for arts and culture at Cheshire East Council, said: “Cheshire East has a rich cultural heritage and Crewe plays an important part in that. But while it is best known for being an historic railway town, it is fantastic that this festival will celebrate another feature of Crewe’s heritage – pavement art.

Pavement art originated in Britain and during the Victorian era, the artists, known as ‘screevers’, flourished around areas where tourists and business people passed through, such as railway stations. Crewe was no exception.”

The full details of the festival were revealed today during a launch event held at Crewe railway station. Crewe-based artist Christine Edwards gave passers-by a taste of the type of artwork they can expect to see, recreating one of the horses from a Salvador Dali painting on the station overbridge, near to the ticket barriers.

Christine is behind the intriguing pieces of copy art that have been appearing in Crewe town centre over the last few weeks, including artist Peter Howson’s ‘Drum II’.

She will be competing in the festival herself, having won first prize in the copy art category of the James Carling International Pavement Festival Liverpool 2011.

All artists – many of them known for 3D pavement art – will be working on their creations between 10am and 6pm on the first day (August 26) of the festival and the morning of the second, with judging then taking place during the afternoon.

On day one, visitors can add their mark to a giant chalk painting in Lyceum Square from 1pm-4pm. That evening will then see the UK premiere of ‘GESSO – the art of street painting’, a new documentary film about street and pavement art.

On day two, from 12pm-3pm, children can participate in a competition on Lyceum Square where there will be prizes for different age groups.

Visitors will also be asked to vote for their favourite piece of pavement art, with a prize for the winning artist.

Cllr Brown said: “We are looking forward to welcoming artists from across the world to Crewe and hope they will take inspiration from the borough’s distinctive attributes.

“We also encourage visitors of all ages to get involved in this exciting festival, which we hope will help to build Cheshire East’s international reputation as a destination for arts and culture.

“Pavement art is very much temporary – so don’t miss the opportunity to see the creations up close.”

The festival is part of Coloured Earth, a series of international pavement art events and festivals organised by Urban Canvas for the UK.

It is also supported by Toulon International de Street Festival, in France, and Festival Bella Via, in Mexico.

Confirmed artists include:

Vicente Rios Zarazua, Mexico.

Adry Del Rocio, Mexico (artist biography available).

Anthony Cappetto, USA.

Carlos Alberto Garcia, Mexico.

Cesar Polack, Mexico.

Christine Edwards, England (Crewe).

Hannah Bold, England.

Jean-Marc Navello, France.

Jennifer Chaparro, USA (artist biography available).

John Bulley, England.

Keith Fearon, England.

Ketty Grossi, Italy (artist biography available).

Laurellene, Sturtzer, France.

Mark Sheeky, England (Crewe).

Omar Saenz, Mexico.

Ruben Poncia, The Netherlands (artist biography available).


Cesar-PolackRuben-PonciaTeaser image piece 7

Ruben-Poncia

Anthony-Cappetto

Landmark day as Cheshire East Council adopts Local Plan


Cheshire East Council has today sealed the formal adoption of its landmark Local Plan.

The decision comes after a planning inspector last month gave Cheshire East’s strategic blueprint for shaping development in the borough up to 2030 a ‘clean bill of health’.

Approval by a meeting of full council today follows three years of submissions and a total of more than 60,000 comments during 11 separate rounds of public consultation. This represents ‘an unprecedented level of interest’ in a council consultation process.

Importantly, the inspector, in his final report to the council, highlights that the plan provides a five-year supply of housing land to meet projected need. This is a key finding that will now support the council’s case against inappropriate or unsustainable housing proposals. 

Councillor Rachel Bailey, leader of Cheshire East Council said today: “It has been a long and sometimes difficult journey but we understood the importance of getting this blueprint right – and the adoption of our Local Plan is great news for the people of Cheshire East.

“The Local Plan is the council’s most important tool for shaping development in Cheshire East to 2030 – so today is a landmark for this authority, local businesses and our residents.”

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East cabinet member for housing and planning, said:

“The planning inspector acknowledged that our Local Plan was one of the most complex and consulted upon he had seen in his more than 20 years’ experience.

“There has been a tremendous response from our residents and other stakeholders during the very extensive rounds of public consultations and I’m sure it has allowed everyone to feel they had the opportunity to have their say on the plan.

“Our Local Plan has been shown to be both comprehensive and robust and will give the people of Cheshire East its best protection against unplanned and unsustainable development. It also gives shape to where future growth in housing, employment and infrastructure will be accommodated within our borough.”

Planning Inspector Mr Pratt said in his final report in June: “I consider the overall development strategy for Cheshire East, including the provision for housing and employment land, is soundly based, effective, deliverable, appropriate, locally distinctive and justified by robust, proportionate and credible evidence and is positively prepared and consistent with national policy.”

Sean Hannaby, the council’s director of planning and strategic development, said: “As a council, we are picking up the challenge from Whitehall to accelerate delivery of new homes to meet demand.

“Under our Local Plan we see a significant increase in our new-build to 1,800 homes per year. The plan also identifies more than 2,500 acres of land for housing – an area equivalent to around 2,600 football pitches

“We have already been building houses at an increasing rate to help meet demand, with completions totalling 1,760 homes in 2016/17 – a four-fold increase on the figure for 2010/11. On top of that we have 400 sites currently under construction and current planning consent for more than 20,000 homes.

“I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the incredible hard work of our officers and members to successfully deliver a robust Local Plan for the people of Cheshire East.”

Cheshire East’s Local Plan includes provision for a housing requirement of at least 36,000 new homes and 380 hectares of development land, to reflect a stronger anticipated jobs growth rate of 0.7 per cent per annum.

The inspector endorsed all of the 60-plus strategic sites within the Local Plan, including larger-scale proposals, such as the North Cheshire Garden Village at Handforth.

He also supported the council’s strategy of making modest amendments to green belt land and the other key policies regarding the maintaining of ‘green gap’ land between settlements. However, less than two per cent of the borough’s green belt land will be affected by the increased development need.

For further information about the Local Plan, recent consultations and links to key documents, visit our website at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/localplan

Double success for lifelong learners


Cheshire East Council has received two excellent pieces of news which further emphasises its commitment to securing the best outcomes for all learners.

The national achievement rates tables (NARTs) have been published by the Skills Funding Agency which highlight key indicators of performance in education and training at 19 years and over.

This data is used by organisations across the country to benchmark their own targets and actual performance against other organisations, both locally and nationally.

Learners supported and monitored through the Cheshire East lifelong learning team have achieved the highest overall achievement rates across the Cheshire and Warrington areas. The Cheshire East rate of 94 per cent compares very strongly to the regional average of 78 per cent and a national average of 84 per cent.

The Cheshire East lifelong learning team was also subject to an Ofsted inspection in June with the final report letter recently being published.

The inspection continues to judge the quality of provision as ‘good’ and there were many positive comments within the report which promoted high student achievement, strong leadership and quality assurance processes across a range of providers and effective governance.  The Ofsted comments included:

‘You have ensured that learners continue to receive good quality education and training.

Learners benefit from teaching, learning and assessment which is of a consistently high

standard and which ensures that most make good progress’;

‘Managers use effective quality improvement strategies to ensure that the quality of courses, including that delivered by subcontractors, is of a good standard’; and

‘Experienced governors are determined to provide courses that support community improvements and work with the most disadvantaged people in the local area’.

Councillor George Hayes, cabinet member for children and families, said: “These two excellent outcomes for the council reflect our total commitment to supporting learners beyond school age in order that they have the necessary skills, training and qualifications for a successful transition into employment.

“Many of our learners, supported through the lifelong learning team, have varying levels of vulnerability and may not have succeeded well at an earlier age. To see them now achieve and develop new skills and abilities to go forward into employment is something which makes me very proud.

“I want to thank all the staff within the lifelong learning team and provider organisations who have worked very hard to support our students and also the learners themselves, who are maintaining such high success rates in Cheshire East.”

Chalk it up

Reporter Jonathan White

'Chalk It Up’, an international pavement art festival, was officially launched at Crewe Railway Station on Thursday 27th July 2017.

The festival will take place on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th August 2017 in Market Square, Crewe.

Around 30 artists, many of them multi-award winners, will be arriving from across the globe, including from the United States, Mexico, the Netherlands, Italy, France and the UK to take part in the festival. They will use chalk pastels to create impressive 12ft x 16ft pieces of artwork and will be competing for a series of cash prizes. During the weekend, visitors will also be able to give pavement art a go themselves and there will be a children’s competition.

At the launch event, Crewe-based artist Christine Edwards gave passers-by a taste of the type of artwork they can expect to see at the festival, by creating a piece on the overbridge at the station.

Crewe-based artist Christine  Edwards

Monday, 24 July 2017

Wounded Badger Patrols

Wounded Badger Patrols play a vital role of saving badgers within a cull zone. These are 100% legal coordinated night and day walks along public footpaths within a zone.
Wounded Badger Patrol Cheshire is now setting up and they need YOU in order to be effective!
Please email WBPcheshire@mail.com to register your interest if you're able to join patrols within the proposed Cheshire cull zone this autumn. #StopTheCull #BadgerMonday

No automatic alt text available.



badgerfin

cheshire

Crewe Heritage Centre celebrated its 30th anniversary

Jonathan White, Wistaston

Crewe Heritage Centre celebrated its 30th anniversary on the weekend of Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd July 2017, as it was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 24th July 1987. The centre was built to commemorate 150 historic years of the town of Crewe.

Crewe-built steam locomotive 46233 Duchess of Sutherland was on display (Sunday only), along with locomotives from Colas Rail, Direct Rail Services and GB Railfreight. The exhibition hall featured a newly repainted Class 87 locomotive 87035 Robert Burns, along with stands and displays.

All the Crewe Heritage Centre regular attractions were also open to visitors including its three signal boxes, the Advanced Passenger Train, model railway displays and layouts, static locomotive displays and rides on a miniature railway.

Visitors travelled from the local area and further afield including Wales and Scotland to attend the event, which was enjoyed by hundreds of people.

Crewe built steam locomotive 46233  Duchess of SutherlandThe Crewe Heritage Centre 1987-2017  commemorate plaque attached to the APT

Cheshire East to salute the fallen of First World War’s Passchendaele


Cheshire East Council is to hold a ceremony of commemoration to mark the centenary of the start of the Third Battle of Ypres – more widely known as Passchendaele.

The Royal British Legion, other veterans groups, members of the public and dignitaries including the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire and Bishop of Stockport, will gather for a poignant ceremony and wreath laying at Wilmslow War Memorial, on Mill Street, at 2pm on Monday July 31.

Mayor of Cheshire East Councillor Arthur Moran will lead the tributes to the fallen on behalf of Cheshire East Council.

The First World War battle in Flanders was notorious for its terrible casualties and appallingly-lethal mud. Servicemen from across Cheshire were among the combatants and casualties.

The Cheshire Regiment alone lost 885 men in total during the battle, with 124 deaths on the first day. Of the 885, the youngest was 17 and the oldest 44.

The Third Battle of Ypres, which began on July 31, 1917, was supposed to see the Allies break-out to the Belgian coast to destroy German U-boat bases.

More than 4.5 million shells were fired in the two-week bombardment before the launch of the assault. But the attack soon floundered amid record heavy rains and unprecedented waterlogged mud that drowned horses, men and machines alike.

Passchendaele was the name of the totally destroyed village the Allies captured before the attack was called to an end on November 6, 1917.

The battle was one of the bloodiest of the war. In total, more than 325,000 Allied soldiers and more than 260,000 German soldiers were killed or wounded.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “There were many families in Cheshire who suffered the loss of a loved one during this appallingly difficult and brutal battle. So it is only right that now, 100 years on, we remember them and pay tribute to their great sacrifice.

“It is tremendously important that today’s generation, thankfully largely untouched by conflict, continues to remember and honour the sacrifice made during the First World War. We will remember them.”

The ceremony will be attended by Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs, the Bishop of Stockport the Rt Rev Libby Lane and representatives of the Royal British Legion, Cheshire East Council, Wilmslow Town Council and other local community groups.

Ian Mac, actor and artistic director of the Jude Theatre Company, will perform a short monologue about life in the trenches at the ceremony. The singer Anna Meadmore will also perform the famous 1914 Ivor Novello song ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’.

Members of the public are warmly invited to attend.

The commemorative event is part of the council’s ‘Cheshire East Reflects’ four-year programme of remembrance of the sacrifice by the people of Cheshire East during the First World War.

Cheshire East will be marking a number of key anniversaries in the period up to November 11, 2018, when the centenary of the signing of the Armistice will be commemorated.

A530 Middlewich Road


Following yesterday’s emergency closure of A530 Middlewich Road, caused by a United Utilities water main burst, investigatory work has confirmed that there has been substantial structural damage to the main highway.

Both edges of the carriageway have collapsed and there is a risk of further collapse.

The council is faced with no alternative but to close the road completely in the interests of public safety.

The extent of repairs required could take between six and eight weeks to complete. Investigatory work is ongoing and so this timescale may change.

Middlewich Road will be closed between Alvaston roundabout and Marshfield Bank roundabout, and an advisory diversion route for all vehicles will be signed via the Nantwich bypass, the A500, David Whitby Way, Weston Road, Macon Way, Earle Street, Vernon Way, Dunwoody Way, West Street and Copenhall Lane.

The diversions will operate in both directions.

Access will be maintained for businesses and motorists are advised to plan their journey accordingly.

For further information visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/highways

Cheshire East Highways will also provide updates through its twitter account @cechighways

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Cheshire East Council scoops Green Flag and heritage awards


Cheshire East Council’s parks are some of the very best in the UK – and that’s official.

Cheshire East has been awarded Green Flags for its outstanding parks, an important element of the council’s commitment to ‘quality of place’ for the region.

The Green Flag award is given to authorities that deliver a parks service to an international standard. All parks are measured on how well they are maintained, how sustainable they are, along with their contributions to conservation and heritage.

However, there are also more diverse criteria that parks are measured on, which include areas such as how they are marketed and managed.

Significant investment in our parks in recent years has resulted in the Green Flag award standard being achieved by Queens Park in Crewe, Congleton and Sandbach parks along with the Moor in Knutsford, Bollington recreation ground, Brereton Heath local nature reserve, Tegg’s Nose country park and Tatton Park.

Tatton Park in Knutsford and Queens Park in Crewe have also received the Green Heritage Award, which is given to places that achieve a high standard in management and interpretation of a site with local or national historic importance.

The awards are recognition of outstanding partnership working both with other local authorities and community groups. They were presented at the Guildhall in Hull in an event attended by many northern authorities.

Councillor David Brown, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is deserved recognition for a lot of hard work and dedication, not just from our own teams at Cheshire East but also the army of volunteers and community groups that make achievements like this possible.

“The Green Flag is an international standard and the only national award for parks, so this is great praise for Cheshire East to be recognised in this way.”

Councillor John Hammond, chairman of Cheshire East’s wholly-owned company Ansa, which delivers parks services for the authority, said: “Green Flag is a prestigious parks award which benchmarks the national standard for parks and green spaces in the UK. So naturally, I am delighted with this success.

“All of these parks look beautiful at this time and I must thank all our friends groups and partners for their outstanding efforts and contributions to make this happen.

“It was particularly satisfying that Queens Park in Crewe was successful in obtaining the Green Heritage Award this year, following the recent refurbishment and investment. We do hope you will take time to visit and support your local park.”

Ensure you have your say on Cheshire East bus services consultation


Cheshire East Council is encouraging ‘you’ to have your say on the 10-week borough-wide consultation into proposed changes to subsidised bus services, including the ‘Little Bus’ flexible transport service.

The proposals would save more than £1.5m from the council’s budget. Cheshire East is urging the public to come forward and have their say before the consultation ends on Wednesday, July 26.

You can see the proposals and give your views online at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/busreview or pick up a consultation pack at libraries and customer service centres.

All opinions are welcome on the consultation proposals. Cheshire East is also encouraging members of the public who don’t use buses to share their views.

The proposed changes include no longer supporting buses on evenings and Sundays, as these are some of the least used of the authority’s subsidised services. This is being suggested in order to maintain more weekday and Saturday services.

Councillor David Brown, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “Changing the way services operate is always a very complex issue.

“Naturally, the council wants to weigh up the needs of all our service users for such an important consultation, so we are determined to take every possible opportunity to hear what the public has to say.

“We will still be investing more than £2m in subsidised bus services.”

Cheshire East to check council tax discounts for errors


Cheshire East is to run data checks on households claiming council tax discounts in order to find instances where incorrect awards have been made.

All households in Cheshire East claiming a single person’s discount of 25 per cent off their council tax bill will be checked for their authenticity using sophisticated data-matching technology.

This is part of an ongoing review to validate legitimate single person discount claims and identify and remove those being claimed in error.

A 25 per cent discount, worth a minimum of £250 a year, is given to anyone who claims to be living in a property on their own.

Cheshire East Council is now checking to see whether people are living alone, by cross-referencing with other sources of information about their household – such as, but not limited to, the electoral roll registers and financial sector information.

People failing to respond to two written requests for further information, in relation to their claim, will have it withdrawn from the beginning of the current financial year or from the date the discount was applied, if within the current financial year.

If during the review process, checks indicate that another adult is living at the address, the discount will also be withdrawn.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for finance and communities, said: “We will be contacting all those we believe to be claiming incorrectly but, in the meantime, I would urge anyone who is claiming the discount and whose circumstances have changed, to contact us immediately by visiting the council tax section of the authority’s website or by telephoning 0300 123 5013.

“It would be advisable for individuals to let us know about changes in their circumstances, so it makes sense to tell us as soon as possible. Even if you were living alone when you received your bill for the year, if another adult is living with you now, we will need to re-calculate the amount you need to pay.”

Love Crewe Mission Week’

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

‘Love Crewe Mission Week’ took place in Crewe from Wednesday 12th to Sunday 16th July 2017 with a range of events in the morning, afternoon and evening.

There was a morning outreach each day from Wednesday to Saturday in Crewe town centre, where free drinks and prayer were offered. In the afternoon from Wednesday to Saturday there were clear ups in Valley Park and Orchard and Ford Lane alley and park. In the evening from Wednesday to Sunday there were events including ‘Where can I find hope?’ at Crewe Alex, a live music concert by indie-pop band ‘BrightLine’ in Queens Park, ‘Does God care about me?’ with inspiring speakers and live music on Crewe Town Square, ‘Where can I find healing?’ at Crewe Alex and on the final day there was a Celebration party at Crewe Alex.

All the events were free and the Love Crewe Mission Week was enjoyed by several hundred people.

The events were organised by ‘Love Crewe’ - http://www.lovecrewe.co.uk/ - who are comprised of churches serving the Crewe area.

A representative from Love Crewe said, “Love Crewe was born out of a desire to see the town blessed and transformed. As the churches in Crewe we believe the heart of this change is each person experiencing the love of God through Jesus. This brings healing, forgiveness and real hope!”

For further information relating to Love Crewe, please contact Phil and Emma Howell on 07906616373.

Hope Church worship group perform  on Crewe Town Square

STATEMENT RE: HS2 Bill before Parliament


Councillor Rachel Bailey, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “We welcome the Hybrid Bill for Phase 2a of HS2, from Birmingham to Crewe, being put before Parliament. This is a key milestone for this ‘once in a generation’ rail project, which will see a Crewe hub station opening in 2027.

“This council also welcomes further recognition of the overwhelming case for a HS2 hub station in Crewe.

“We are pleased to see that the Department for Transport has launched a consultation on the Crewe HS2 hub station and related components. The council will consider the consultation proposals in detail to ensure our consultation responses reflect the best possible outcomes for Cheshire East residents.

“This council and the Constellation Partnership (a sub-regional group of neighbouring local authorities and local enterprise partnerships) now look forward to the opportunity to vigorously press the case for the enormous benefits to the economy that an enhanced HS2 hub station at Crewe – with unrivalled 360-degree connectivity and up to seven high-speed trains an hour serving Manchester, Birmingham and London – would deliver, not only to the sub-region but also to the Midlands, North West, Wales and beyond.

“I would also reiterate that we wish to see the highest standards of mitigation and compensation for those people and businesses affected by the route.”

Council acts to tackle parking issues on Crewe Business Park


Longstanding parking and transport issues on a thriving business park are set to be addressed following extensive consultation with businesses.

Cheshire East Council’s arms-length Skills and Growth Company is actively working with businesses on Crewe Business Park to help find solutions to the parking and commuting problems along Electra Way and surrounding areas.

A workshop was held in April to explore options to tackle a number of issues affecting staff and businesses. These included reducing parking violations – including triple parking and parking on the grass verges – improving public transport links to the site and steps to encourage car-sharing, walking and cycling.

Longer-term structural issues affecting access to and from the park and the opening up of additional offsite parking spaces, for example at the nearby MMU site, were also considered.

Arriva and D&G Bus were also involved in the workshop and are participating in the process, with new timetables, shuttle services and discounted ticketing options under consideration.

Councillor George Hayes, chairman of the Skills and Growth Company said: “We are determined to help ease the parking and transport issues on Crewe Business Park and have been pleased with the excellent support, co-operation and innovation shown by all parties so far. I would urge all businesses on the park to come forward and share in the process of providing solutions”.

The Skills and Growth Company is working in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) to help tackle congestion via the potential leasing of parking space on the Crewe campus site.

Shaun Evans, of Assurant Solutions, a large employer on Crewe Business Park, said: “We have been aware of the parking problems on the park for some time and it has been impacting negatively on our staff, visitors and neighbours. We are very pleased to work with the council to find solutions as soon as possible, which could also improve the wellbeing of our staff by helping them to use public transport, car share, walk or cycle to work.”

Improved better care fund to support adult social care and NHS


Cheshire East Council will receive a grant of £10.8m over the next three years, dedicated to the needs of the growing adult social care sector and the wider local health economy.

The expected positive impacts of this grant funding will lead to reducing pressure on the NHS, help people to stay at home for longer – which will include supporting more people to be discharged from hospital when they are ready and without delay – and ensure that local social care provision is supported appropriately.

This dedicated approach to adult social care outcomes is being delivered through the improved Better Care Fund.

Cheshire East Council’s adult social care services team is showing a vast improvement in the reduction of delayed discharges from hospitals. Working closely with two clinical commissioning groups, two acute trusts, community providers and GPs, this transformation work is already well developed and proving successful.

Adult social care teams in Cheshire East are also delivering more ‘area-based’ care. This allows health and social care staff to have a very clear community focus in their approach and to support residents in promoting their independence.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for adult social care and integration, said: “There is an unprecedented increase in demand on adult social care in the borough and we are always looking at innovative ways to support our vulnerable residents.

“We have an ageing population, which we are determined to support the best we can by providing support to allow them to live in their own homes for longer and to have more choice and control.

“We also have a lot of younger adults who are transitioning to adult social care, many of whom have very complex needs. It is our foremost priority to ensure that a high standard of care is provided in a timely manner to our residents.

“This grant is a welcome boost to Cheshire East residents as we continue to deliver against our outcome of living well for longer.”

Monday, 17 July 2017

Cheshire Fire And Rescue Service July 2017 E-Newsletter

Subject: Cheshire Fire And Rescue Service July 2017 E-Newsletter - FiRELiNK


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Ashley Lawton (Cheshire Fire , Administrator, Cheshire Fire)

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


Award-winning month!

Award-winning month!

We are delighted to have won two prestigious awards - one for road safety and one for health and home safety.

Prestigious health award

Cheshire and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services have won a prestigious health award for their pioneering new scheme focusing on bowel cancer screening.

The two services' Safe and Well visits have won a Healthcare Transformation Award in the category of Improving Cancer Outcomes, alongside their partners Public Health England, NHS England (Cheshire and Merseyside) and Cancer Research UK.

Find out more - Fire and Rescue Services win health award

Tyre Safety award

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has won an award for their tyre safety campaign which they run in conjunction with a national charity.

The Service won a Tyre Safety award in the Community category for their work with partners TyreSafe in reducing the number of unsafe tyres on the roads in Cheshire.

Find out more - Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service wins Tyre Safety award


Care home company fined for serious fire safety breaches

A Cheshire care home company has been fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £9,000 in costs after pleading guilty to serious breaches of fire safety regulations.

Four Seasons (No 9) Ltd is part of Four Seasons Health Care Group and pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at its Cypress Court Care Home premises on Broad Street in Crewe.

Find out more - Care home company fined for serious fire safety breaches


Summer safety

Barbecue

Stay safe during the summer months, use the links below to access fire safety tips and advice:

Summer road safety tips

Car on a country road in Cheshire

Long warm days can be the perfect opportunity to get out and about in your car. If you're planning a road trip, please read the information below for the most important things you need to check and do before you take to the road.

Find out more - Summer road safety tips


Fire Station open days

Ellesmere Port Fire Station Open Day 2017

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service fire stations will be holding free fire station open days over the next few months.

Find out more - Fire Station open days

Find out about your local fire station - where it is, what open days or special events they are holding and how to get in contact with them.

Find out more - Your local fire station

Bradley Lowery at Memorial

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

The people of Crewe honoured the life and achievements of Bradley Lowery at Memorial Square in Crewe on the evening of Friday 14th July 2017.

Bradley, from Blackhall Colliery in County Durham, passed away, aged six years old, on Friday 7th July 2017. He was a Sunderland football fan who was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer - neuroblastoma - when just 18 months old. He became Sunderland's club mascot and also "best mates" with his hero, striker Jermain Defoe. Bradley's brave fight against cancer inspired millions and has helped raise over £1 million for charity.

The event took place on the day of Bradley's funeral. There was a short speech from Shaine Tench about Bradley and what this young boy achieved and how he brought so many people together, followed by a two-minute clapping ovation. A hugging exercise then took place to symbolise Bradley bringing people together, then children at the event were invited to release ten helium-filled balloons.

A person dressed in a Mickey Mouse cartoon character costume attended the event, as Bradley was a Disney fan. It was also hoped that the Mickey Mouse brought comfort to children who didn't understand the situation in relation to Bradley.

There was also a donation bucket with all funds donated to the Bradley Lowery Foundation.

The event was organised by Shaine Tench, from Crewe, who said, "We came together as the great community of Crewe to show our support for Bradley and his family during their sad loss. Bradley was a hero to myself and many others."

Balloon release from Memorial  Square

The Andrews Panto & Plays Society (TAPPS)

Reporter Jonathan White

The Andrews Panto & Plays Society (TAPPS) are on the lookout for new members. TAPPS are based at St Andrew’s Church Hall on Bedford Street in Crewe and stage a programme of events throughout the year including a pantomime, two variety shows and summer play reading evenings. There is also an active social programme. If you would like to get involved with this lively group please contact Fred Allman via text/phone on 07968829999.

Their programme of events from July 2017 to January 2018 is:

-Friday 21st July 2017 (7:15pm) – Play reading evening – have a go at reading a part or just relax with a glass of wine and nibbles. Admission = £3. Membership scheme = £2.

-Friday 4th August (7:15pm) – Play reading evening – another chance for a chilled out evening - have a go at reading a part or just relax with a glass of wine and nibbles. Admission = £3. Membership scheme = £2.

-Saturday 9th September (11am) – TAPPS walk – a stroll around the countryside, followed by a pub lunch. Venue to be announced. Those in the membership scheme get £5 towards the cost of lunch.

-Tuesday 19th September (7:15pm) – Rehearsals begin for ‘Autumn Frolics’ – the TAPPS variety show.

-Friday 22nd September (7:30pm) – Trip to Crewe Lyceum Theatre to see ‘A Murder is Announced’. Like to join us? Please book your seat with Fred (see contact details below) by Sunday 9th July.

-Saturday 7th October (7pm) – Performance of ‘Autumn Frolics’ in St Andrew’s Church Hall. Tickets = £5 adults, £2.50 children.

-Friday 27th October (7:15pm) – TAPPS Annual General Meeting.

-Tuesday 7th November (7:15pm) – Rehearsals begin for TAPPS pantomime 'Aladdin’.

-Saturday 23rd December - Trip to Crewe Lyceum Theatre to see the pantomime 'Snow White' starring Cannon & Ball. Tickets = £26 (£21 for those in membership scheme) and closing date for booking is 3rd September.

-Friday 12th & Saturday 13th January 2018 - TAPPS pantomime 'Aladdin’.

TAPPS members Gwen Kinder and Julie  Blackhurst with panto props

Friday, 14 July 2017

Warning issued following hoax HMRC calls

Subject: Warning issued following hoax HMRC calls


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Officers are reminding resident to remain vigilant following a multiple reports of hoax calls from people claiming to be from HMRC.
Over the past 24 hours officers have received three separate reports from residents in the Northwich area who have received calls from a man purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
On each occasion the victim was told they were being investigated by HMRC for an outstanding tax balance and if they didn’t settle the balance then they would be arrested. The caller was then informed that if they paid the balance within two hours they will not be arrested, and then told that the balance could only be settled using iTunes vouchers.
The victims were then advised to visit a high street supermarket or electronics store to purchase the vouchers and then call back the hoax caller and provide them with the serial numbers from the vouchers to settle their debt.
Chief Inspector Simon Meegan said: “In each of these cases the victims have been told that they must purchase hundreds of pounds worth of vouchers or face the prospect of being arrested; which has caused anxiety and concern for all of the victims.
“Thankfully in all three cases the victims did not fall for the scam and no money changed hands. However, having been made aware of these incidents we are working closely with local supermarkets and electronics stores to help prevent vulnerable residents from purchasing large quantities of vouchers.
“I would also like to remind local residents that HMRC would never call you and ask you to settle a balance over the phone using vouchers. I advise anyone who believes that they may have been a victim to call us on 101.”
Anyone who believes they have been contacted fraudulently or have been a victim of fraud should call Cheshire Police on 101 and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

A 'Summer Fair' took place at St Andrew's Church, Bedford Street

Reporter J White

A 'Summer Fair' took place at St Andrew's Church, Bedford Street, Crewe on Saturday 8th July 2017.

The Fair was an opportunity to showcase the numerous uses of the church and the adjacent church hall. Therefore the stalls setup were from an array of ages and interests including St Andrew's Scouts with a challenge to erect a tent in the fastest possible time, St Andrew's Rainbows and Brownies with make a kite, Diamonds with a buried treasure game, parishioners with a Cut cards 4 chocolate game, TAPPS (The Andrews Panto & Plays Society) with the take the lemon challenge, a parishioners cake stall plus guess the weight of the cake, handmade cards for sale by parishioner Andrea Davies, and children’s face painting. There was live entertainment inside the church featuring a dance display by Fink Theatre Academy who use the hall every week, music from Phil Houghton on the church organ and music from Pick & Mix with Fred Allman on vocals and Chris White on vocals and ukulele. Refreshments were available both indoors and outdoors.

St Andrew's is currently looking at the feasibility of building a new parish community centre on the site of the present church hall on Bedford Street. Visitors to the event had the opportunity to discuss with representatives from Cheshire East Council's Communities Team and the Church's Parochial Church Council, what they would like to see in the new centre and a Putting Residents First questionnaire was also available for people to submit their views.

Priest-in-Charge of the Parish of St Andrew, Reverend Lynne Cullens said, “It's been great to see so many members of the local community coming through the door today to have a go on the stalls, eat some of the delicious food that's on offer and to get involved with the kids activities.   It's been a fantastic opportunity too to let the wider community know about the groups, activities and support that's available both here in St Andrew's Church and at the Parish Hall every day of the week.  If anyone would like to help us take forward the redevelopment of the new community centre by giving some time to the steering group or helping us with consultation events such as the one today, then please get in touch on 01270 569000."

Cake stall - Revd Lynne Cullens    with parishionersPick and Mix - Chris White and Fred    Allman

Council raises ceiling on grants to help old, young and vulnerable stay in their own homes


Cheshire East Council has set aside £2.4m to help the old and vulnerable with adaptations to their homes and reduce the long-term impact on the NHS and social services.

The council’s cabinet today (Tuesday) agreed to pay up to £50,000 in disabled facilities grant, far exceeding the present government ceiling of £30,000.

The council has also widened the scope of the grant to make it more flexible, giving applicants greater choice and control so that they can stay in their homes and live safely and securely.

It is hoped the new higher level of grant will be of particular help to families with severely disabled children, so that they can live at home with special adaptations, instead of having to go into care or have an expensive care package.

The council will introduce a new financial assistance policy – to come into effect from August – making it far easier for vulnerable people at risk or on benefits, to access funds for adaptations such as stairlifts, improved insulation and other essential repairs and improvements.

The new policy sets out a series of six grants and loans to help those who qualify stay warm, safe and secure in their homes.

The four key objectives are:

● Residents can afford to heat their homes and enjoy better health;

● Disabled people can live independently with confidence and dignity;

● Residents can be confident their home is safe and watertight and can live without fear of injury or ill health; and             

● Residents can have the opportunity to live in a well-maintained home in the heart of our

  communities.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “This policy will help our elderly and vulnerable residents get the repairs and improvements they need in order to be independent, safe and healthy in their own homes.

“In some circumstances it will also help pay for necessary adaptations to another property, such as a relative’s, that they visit regularly.

“By introducing this, Cheshire East Council will exceed its statutory duties to elderly and vulnerable residents in the borough, reducing the long-term financial impact for our health and social services.”

Under the previous policy, the council facilitated investment of almost £7m, improving the homes and lives of 1,450 vulnerable people. The policy has drawn in £2.1m in match funding and has the potential to save £3.8m in health and social care spending.

For every £1 spent on heating improvements, a cost benefit of £18.51 was achieved in the health and social care sector.

Cheshire East Council is committed to tackling poverty and helping residents to live well and for longer through early intervention and prevention services.

For further information about the council’s home repairs and adaptations for vulnerable people policy and how you could claim, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/homerepairs

Council encourages local people to join self-build housing register


Cheshire East Council has taken steps to encourage local people to join its self-build register and help meet demand for housing in the borough.

The register has been developed by the authority since its launch in April 2016, to allow people who are interested in buying a ‘serviced plot’ – a plot of land with access to roads and utilities – the opportunity to register their interest.

The information from the register will be accessed to help the council with planning decisions in addition to assessing the demand for serviced plots.

The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 placed a duty on the council to establish and publicise a local register of individuals and associations. The council is also looking into the suitability of local authority-owned sites that could be developed as serviced plots and sold to those on the self-build register.

Now the council has moved to give priority to people with local connections with Cheshire East. It follows changes to the regulations last October that allow councils to introduce a ‘local connection test’ for applicants to the self-build register.

Cheshire East’s cabinet today (July 11) backed a recommendation that, to meet the new test, applicants have to live or work in Cheshire East or have an offer of employment in the borough. Members of the armed forces are not subject to the local eligibility criteria.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “I welcome this move to help ensure that local people are given priority to build their own new homes in the borough, rather than speculative applicants with no local connection to the area.

“Self-build provides a good opportunity for people to develop a property that really matches their needs and requirements better and gives them greater control over its layout and design.

“We as a council are fully supportive of this opportunity to bring forward more new homes in the borough to help boost the housing supply to better meet local need.” 

If you are interested in applying to join the register please visit:

http://cheshireeast.gov.uk/housing/self-build-and-custom-build-housing/self-build-and-custom-build-housing.aspx

Remembering victims of honour based abuse

Subject: Remembering victims of honour based abuse


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Peter Caldwell (Police, Digital Media Manager, Chesh Engagement Unit)

Victims of honour based abuse are being remembered this week. Cheshire Constabulary will join forces across the country to support a national day of remembrance on Friday 14th July for those who have been affected by this devastating issue.
Coordinated by charity Karma Nirvana, the day is an opportunity to reflect on the women and men who have lost their lives through honour based abuse and forced marriage - and to support those who have survived this kind of abuse.
This has particular significance for the Force as Shafilea Ahmed, who was murdered by her parents in Warrington in 2003, would have celebrated her 31st birthday on Friday.
Shafilea’s parents (Iftikhar and Farzana) were jailed for 25 years in August 2012 after being found guilty of her murder in an honour based killing.  She had been suffocated with a plastic bag at the family home, her body was later disposed of and the family went about their business as if nothing had happened.
Summing up the case, the judge told the couple that their concern at being shamed in their community was greater than the love of their child.
Detective Chief Superintendent Nigel Wenham said:  “We should all be allowed the freedom to live our lives without fear of violence.  Victims of honour based abuse and forced marriage do not have to suffer in silence and this national day of remembrance is an important time for us all to raise awareness of the issue – and provide an opportunity to encourage those who may be affected to come forward and seek help.  Police and partners are continuing to work together to take action and support victims and survivors.
“Shafilea’s death sent shockwaves through the local community - and further afield - and all those who worked on this case and were affected by it still think about it today.  The thought of parents killing their own child is completely incomprehensible and the day of remembrance serves as a reminder that innocent members of the community can be at risk of harm and can feel isolated as they are targeted by those closest to them.”
This year’s day of remembrance focuses on ‘Not all holidays are a holiday’ – and highlights the fact that at this time of year there are concerns that children will be taken overseas during the long school break to be forced into marriage.  The charity estimates that 80% of all UK forced marriages take place abroad mostly during the summer holidays.
Events will be taking place throughout the country to mark the occasion and people are asked to support this worthy cause by using the hash tag #WeRemember.
Cheshire Police & Crime Commissioner David Keane said:  “Shafilea was a vibrant young woman with her whole life ahead of her.  Her senseless death affected people right across the world and still does to this day.  One of my key policing priorities is to support victims and protect the vulnerable and all of us should be allowed the freedom to live our lives without fear of violence.  I would urge anyone who either has been, or feels they may be, in danger of becoming a victim of so-called honour based abuse, to speak to the Constabulary.  I can assure you that your concerns will be treated seriously and sensitively.
“So-called honour-based abuse is often referred to as a hidden crime, and if you feel that someone you know might be at risk, please report it.  I am committed to working with the Chief Constable to ensure we will continue to have a police service that is there to protect and serve everyone, especially those who are at risk of harm.”
If you know someone who is a victim of an honour based crime or at risk of being forced into a marriage please report your concerns to Cheshire Police on 101.  If a crime is taking place or there is a danger to life you should dial 999 immediately.
Information can also be left anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.
Help and advice is also available from the charity Karma Nirvana (which focuses on those affected by Honour Based Abuse, Forced Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation.) via their helpline on 0800 5999 247 – this is a confidential service.  You can also find out more about this support service by visiting www.karmanirvana.org.uk

Pilot project to support at-risk children and families hailed a success and expands across Cheshire East


A trial project to support at-risk children and families in Crewe has been found to be effective and is now being extended across the borough.

For two years, Catch22 and Cheshire East Council have delivered tailored interventions to help prevent children, young people and families from falling into the care or justice system.

Project Crewe aims to improve children’s outcomes and reduce repeat referrals to agencies, including social services and the probation service, by ensuring that families receive all the necessary support they need from relevant agencies and the voluntary sector.

Project Crewe began in March 2015, and is funded with a grant from the Department for Education. The project is to develop and test innovative approaches to assisting children in need, who require additional support for their health and well-being.

The work in Crewe has proved that early intervention – with the right support at the right time – helps to avoid more costly measures in the longer term. The scheme expanded to cover the whole borough, based in Macclesfield, from May this year.

Peer mentors, family practitioners and social workers have been involved in delivering the project and the Department for Education has now released its evaluation, which has shown that Project Crewe has ‘promising indications of impact’.

Families felt listened to and empowered by having the right support and direction to tackle their challenges.

Councillor George Hayes, cabinet member for children and families, said: “We believe that early intervention works and a core focus of our children’s services is to ensure our children and young people are safe from harm, supported into education and employment and are helped to avoid serious social and behavioural problems in the future.

“This tailored and holistic approach can set a new benchmark in the way we deliver intervention services in the future.”

Chris Wright, chief executive of Catch22, a non-for-profit social business, said: “The results from Project Crewe should mark a sea change in the way we approach and design social work interventions.

“The evaluation proves conclusively that it is the quality of the relationship that matters to a young person and not the title of the person who is dealing with their problems.”

Robert Goodwill, Minister for Children and Families, said: I am delighted that we have supported this project and look forward to continuing to hear about its great work in the future.” 

Cheshire East Council is providing additional funding of £585,000 to extend the project until July 2018. It also broadened the geographical area to cover the whole of Cheshire East.

Cheshire East Council seeks to provide young people with the life skills and education they need to thrive, and will continue to invest in young people to secure their well-being and good health.

Cheshire East primary schools chalk up impressive Key Stage 2 results


Cheshire East’s primary pupils have achieved an impressive set of Key Stage 2 results across core subjects.

Provisional figures show that 64 per cent of pupils achieved the expected standard or higher for combined reading, writing and maths at the end of school year, which is the key measure used nationally.

This figure for Cheshire East is up 12 percentage points on the previous year, with the national figure rising eight percentage points.

A total of 76 per cent of pupils achieved the expected standard or higher in maths for the national curriculum test – a rise of four percentage points on last year. Similar improvements have been seen in English, with 76 per cent of pupils achieving the expected standard or better in the reading test (up five percentage points) with grammar, punctuation and spelling moving up from 76 per cent to 80 per cent.

Overall, our performance across Cheshire East for 2017 is above the national average for all curriculum test indicators.

Councillor George Hayes, cabinet member for children and families, said: “I am delighted that outcomes for our primary school students across the borough have demonstrated a positive trend, which equips these young people well for their continued education in secondary school – particularly given the increased rigour in the Key Stage 2 assessments.

“We already know we have some excellent schools and pupils in our communities but, even so, there are some very impressive results this year. I recognise the substantial work which has been undertaken this year in trying to embed new primary assessment frameworks, especially in the assessment of writing, and this hard work is reflected in these very positive outcomes across all assessed subjects.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those family members, teachers and schools staff who have worked so very hard to support our pupils and also the young people themselves, who are maintaining such a high success rate in Cheshire East.”

Monday, 10 July 2017

Pet - Fraud Alert

Subject: Pet - Fraud Alert


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Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have recently noticed a rise in the reporting of pets, and in particular puppies and kittens, being advertised for sale via popular online auction websites. The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, often claiming that the pet is currently held somewhere less accessible or overseas. Upon agreement of a sale, the suspect will usually request an advance payment by money transfer or bank transfer. However, the pet does not materialise and the fraudster will subsequently ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees and additional transportation costs. Even if further payments are made, the pet will still not materialise as it is likely to not exist.

Tips to staying safe when purchasing pets:

  • Stay within auction guidelines.
  • Be cautious if the seller initially requests payment via one method, but later claims that due to ‘issues with their account’ they will need to take the payment via an alternative method such as a bank transfer.
  • Consider conducting research on other information provided by the seller, for example a mobile phone number or email address used by the seller could alert you to any negative information associated with the number/email address online. 
  • Request details of the courier company being used and consider researching it.
  • Agree a suitable time to meet face-to-face to agree the purchase and to collect the pet. If the seller is reluctant to meet then it could be an indication that the pet does not exist.
  • A genuine seller should be keen to ensure that the pet is going to a caring and loving new home. If the seller does not express any interest in you and the pet’s new home, be wary.
  • If you think the purchase price is too good to be true then it probably is, especially if the pet is advertised as a pure-breed.
  • Do not be afraid to request copies of the pet’s inoculation history, breed paperwork and certification prior to agreeing a sale. If the seller is reluctant or unable to provide this information it could be an indication that either the pet does not exist or the pet has been illegally bred e.g. it originates from a ‘puppy farm’. A ‘puppy farm’ is a commercial dog breeding enterprise where the sole aim is to maximise profit for the least investment. Commercial dog breeders must be registered with their local authority and undergo regular inspections to ensure that the puppies are bred responsibly and are in turn fit and healthy. Illegally farmed puppies will often be kept in inadequate conditions and are more likely to suffer from ailments and illnesses associated with irresponsible breeding.
  • When thinking of buying a pet, consider buying them in person from rescue centres or from reputable breeders.
  • If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting  www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Cheshire East to audio webcast all decision-making meetings


Cheshire East Council has embarked on audio webcasts of all of its decision-making public meetings.

The move follows a successful trial of the recording technology over several months and will see both live audio and archived recordings made available to the public.

The new arrangements will bring increased transparency and access to debates and decisions for those who cannot attend council meetings in person.

It also comes at a vastly reduced cost – around £4,000 a year in total – compared with £30,000 for video webcasting of cabinet meetings only.

Councillor Peter Groves, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for democratic and public engagement, said: “The council places great importance on transparency around its decision-making – but it also recognises this must be balanced by consideration of the cost to the public purse. 

“The changes we have made have greatly expanded the recording of all formal meetings across the council – totalling around 200 a year – and brought greater openness and transparency to the work that we carry out on behalf of our residents.”

Because Cheshire East has no permanent, dedicated council chamber and holds a high number of public meetings, the costs of setting up and dismantling video recording equipment for council meetings has proved prohibitive (costing around £30,000 a year to video webcast cabinet only).

Figures showed that only about 65 people viewed the live video and 141 viewed the archived video. A number of these will have been council staff members.

Cllr Groves added: “The view was taken by elected members that, whilst arrangements should be kept under review, a less costly balance needed to be found which ensured transparency of decision making.

“Now, with audio recordings of all meetings being made available live online and on our archive, people who cannot attend meetings can be informed in a timely manner about the debate and decisions taken across the whole range of business of council – and not just cabinet meetings.

“Moreover, the relevant audio recording of debate and decisions is now attached to each agenda item’s minutes – saving listeners from having to search across a recording of the whole meeting.

“This is particularly helpful given that some planning meetings, for example, have been known to last for almost 10 hours.

“I am pleased to say that, generally, the recording system has worked extremely effectively for meetings and we have had very positive feedback from council members and the public in relation to the audio system we have introduced.

“The council believes residents will welcome this expansion of openness and transparency – and the greater value for money it delivers for local council taxpayers.” 

Fraudster fined for motorcycle helmet scam

dodgy helmet

Cheshire East Council’s trading standards team achieved a significant victory today when Roydon Wiggins, a director of a vehicle parts retailer, was fined £1,200 with £25,000 costs for selling defective motorcycle helmets.

The company, Hough Mill Developments, which also trades as Quads Inn, was convicted of three counts of selling unsafe goods. They were fined a total of £15,000 for the offences and £25,000 in costs.

The existence of the helmets was brought to Cheshire East Council’s attention by a consumer who was involved in a low speed road traffic accident, while wearing one of Hough Mill’s rogue products as she drove her motor scooter. The helmet shattered on impact.

The model of the helmet involved in the accident was reported to the council’s trading standards team, which led to an investigation into a range of Quads Inn products, which have now been recalled and taken off the market.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member with responsibility for trading standards, said: “These convictions send out a very strong message that there will always be zero tolerance when it comes to public safety”,

“This was a company who showed utter contempt for the welfare of people – something I find truly abhorrent.”

“I commend the trading standards team for their diligence in bringing this man to justice, and I am only thankful that the incident, which alerted us to this malpractice, did not result in a fatality.”

Thursday, 6 July 2017

New help network launched for serving and ex-military personnel in Cheshire East


Serving and former armed forces personnel across the borough will be able to access a new help service thanks to funding secured with the support of Cheshire East Council.

The Ministry of Defence has contributed £20,000 to the Cheshire Armed Forces Hub, which will help past and present soldiers, sailors and airmen who need help to access essential services, as well as emotional and family support, where required.

Run from Warrington, the hub will work in partnership with a newly-formed charity Shoulder to Soldier and will help serving and ex-servicemen with a range of problems, such as accessing welfare and benefits, tackling debt, housing difficulties and finding work.

Councillor Paul Bates, cabinet member for finance and communities, said: “We are pleased to have played a part in securing this funding from the Ministry of Defence.

“We believe it is vital to support our armed forces personnel, some of whom find it extremely difficult to make the transition from military life to ‘civvy street’. Also, some of them return from war zones deeply affected by their experiences and need additional emotional support.”

All Cheshire local authorities, including Halton, backed the bid initiated by the Warrington Armed Forces Hub, which last year helped 81 new clients to access support.

Cheshire East has around 1,500 former servicemen and women claiming war pensions, but many more serving or ex-military personnel would qualify to access the service.

Steve Patterson, a trustee of the support network, said: “We are delighted that the Ministry of Defence had the confidence in our proposal. As an ex-forces person myself, I know how important it is to receive the correct advice and support.

“This is an exciting opportunity to make a real difference across the whole of Cheshire.”  

To find out more about the hub, email: admin@armedforcessupporthub.org

or telephone 01925 246955.

Cheshire East publishes details of councillors’ allowances


Cheshire East Council has published details of allowances paid to all elected members during the last financial year.

The publication on its website shows the amounts paid for basic allowance, special responsibility allowances, dependants’ carers’ allowance, travel and subsistence allowances and co-optees’ allowance for the period April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.

Councillor Peter Groves, cabinet member for democratic and public engagement, said: “Cheshire East Council is the third largest unitary authority in the North West of England with 82 councillors and a budget of £750m.

“The council represents 374,000 residents and the elected member’s allowances are comparable to many other authorities of a similar size and demographic.

“All allowances and expenses are scrutinised and claims are submitted in accordance with legal requirements and criteria.”

The schedule of allowances can be viewed by the public on the council’s website at:

http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/council_and_democracy/your_council/councillor_expenses.aspx

Copies of the information can also be inspected by members of the public, on request, during office hours at the council’s Westfields HQ offices on Middlewich Road, Sandbach CW11 1HZ.

Second regional adoption agency launched in the UK


Cheshire East Council is ahead of the game when it comes to forward-thinking approaches to adoption.

In partnership with Manchester, Salford, Trafford and Stockport councils, Cheshire East has become part of only the second regional adoption agency to be formed in the UK. The service will be called ‘Adoption Counts’ and is launched on Monday (3 July).

This comes three years ahead of the time set by government for when it expects all adoption services to be delivered this way.

The key aims of Adoption Counts are to provide the right adopters at the right time, reduce the delay in matching and placing children, innovative in working for children who have waited the longest to be placed and to establish better links with key partnership agencies.

The agency will be based in three locations: Middlewich; Wythenshawe; and Salford and will be responsible for recruiting adopters, finding families for children and providing support to adoptive families.

Councillor George Hayes, Cheshire East cabinet member for children and families, said: “Following the ‘good’ rating of our adoption services at the last Ofsted inspection, where the strengths of our relationships with partner local authorities were highlighted, this agency partnership is another very positive step forward.

“I am very proud of my colleagues in the adoption team for embracing this way of working and for doing so well ahead of the government expectation.  Continuing to work together with our partner colleagues will allow us to access the expertise that bit more quickly and find better solutions for children when they are at their most vulnerable.

“We are also aware that some would-be adopters get frustrated by the level of bureaucracy that can be involved in the adoption process. Adoption Counts is working to reduce that, focussing our attention on the children and the adoptive families, who make such an incredible contribution to many young people’s lives.”

Sue Westwood, regional adoption agency manager for Adoption Counts, said: “I am really excited to be leading one of the first regional adoption agencies in the country. 

Adoption Counts will be a new and improved way of finding permanent homes for our most vulnerable children. 

“It has been really exciting to bring together the best of our existing practice and to develop new services across such a large area.

“We are committed to not just to finding new families but supporting these families into the future, helping them to give children the security they need.”

For more information on adoption counts and how to adopt, please visit: http://www.adoptioncounts.org.uk/

‘Quit smoking’ success as ban hits 10-year landmark


The number of smokers in Cheshire East has dropped by more than 40 per cent since a ban was introduced on smoking in enclosed public places 10 years ago this month.

July 1 marked the 10th anniversary of this key reform, which has made it illegal for anyone to smoke in places such as restaurants, shops or in the workplace.

Before this ban, about 23 per cent in Cheshire East smoked. The current rate is just over 13 per cent. The North West average is 17 per cent. 

However, smoking levels vary across Cheshire East, with 21 per cent of over 15s smoking in Crewe compared with just 11.5 per cent in the Alderley Edge, Chelford, Handforth and Wilmslow areas. The smoking rate is also higher among residents in manual or ‘routine’ jobs.

Smoking is still the single greatest cause of preventable death in the UK – and half of smokers will die prematurely.

Every year, around 96,000 people in the UK die from diseases caused by smoking. Smoking accounts for more than one third of respiratory deaths, more than a quarter of cancer deaths and about one seventh of cardiovascular disease deaths.

A total of 1,660 deaths were related to smoking in Cheshire East during 2012-14, while 443 mothers smoked at the time of pregnancy in the borough in 2015/16 and 4.5 per cent of people aged 15 smoked in 2016.

Fiona Reynolds, director of public health for Cheshire East Council, said, “We would encourage anyone who smokes to access the One You Cheshire East stop smoking service. Smokers are far more likely to successfully quit with the help of a trained advisor, and health benefits can be seen quickly after stopping.”

Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, added: “While the rate of smoking is lower in Cheshire East than many other local authority areas, it is still important for the long-term health of residents that this trend continues – and that people seek the support available to help them quit.”

In order to speak to someone at One You Cheshire East about quitting smoking, phone 0800 085 8818, or visit the One You website at: www.oneyoucheshireeast.org

All you have to do to qualify is to live in the borough and be over the age of 12.

Council steps up drive to make schools safer


Improving child safety was the order of the day as Cheshire East Council continued their crackdown on poor parking at schools this yesterday.

In partnership with Cheshire Police – who provided a police community support officer to support the activity – Cheshire East sent two civil enforcement officers to The Quinta Primary School to educate parents and guardians on parking safely near the school.

Appropriate parking outside schools has been an ongoing problem nationally for some time but Cheshire East is addressing the issue head on.

Some of the issues that schools face from inconsiderate drivers whose actions threaten the lives of children are parking:

· On double yellow lines;

· On school ‘keep clear’ road markings;

· On pavements, causing obstruction;

· On zigzag markings and pedestrian crossings;

· Across school gates; and

· Across neighbouring private driveways

Traffic congestion at the beginning and end of the school day is a problem for pupils, teachers, residents and the emergency services. It can cause road accidents and injuries to children and is more likely to occur where there is heavy weight of traffic, with children often emerging from behind parked cars.

Nationally, the journey to and from school accounts for 20 per cent of all child casualties involved in road accidents.

Councillor David Brown, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “The exercise we have carried out at Quinta Primary School is one of many that we are involved with across the borough.

“We have one objective: to protect the safety of residents and specifically schoolchildren as they make their way to and from school. Everything we are doing is geared towards ensuring that travelling to school and back is as safe as possible for everyone.”