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Friday 26 February 2010

Teenage Pregnancy Rates Fall in Cheshire East

Teenage pregnancy rates in Cheshire East are falling, according to new Government figures.

Statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that conceptions among 15 to 17-year-olds fell by 9.1 per cent between 1998 and 2008.

The rate of 34.5 conceptions per 1,000 girls is lower than the national average of 40.4.

Councillor Andrew Knowles, Cabinet member with responsibility for health and wellbeing, said: “We are very encouraged by these figures, which show that Cheshire East has the third lowest teenage pregnancy rate in the North West. However, we know we need to do more.

“Reducing conceptions among under-18s is a key priority for Cheshire East Council and our partners in the Cheshire East Children’s Trust.

“We are working in line with the refreshed national Teenage Pregnancy Strategy to focus on strengthening the delivery of sex and relationship education in schools.

“We are placing a strong focus on equipping children and young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding to make informed choices in order to lead a healthy lifestyle, including their sexual health needs.

“Work is also underway to review and improve the access and delivery of sexual health services to teenagers.”

Lorraine Butcher, Cheshire East Council’s Head of Service for Children and Families, said: “This significant downward trend in teenage pregnancies is testament to the strong partnership working being undertaken in Cheshire East to address this important issue.

“Young people are at the heart of our planning and we have sought their views on the range of service provision that they currently access and need. While the rates are reducing we are aiming for the rate of reduction to increase in line with national targets”

Dr Heather Grimbaldston, Director of Public Health at Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trust (PCT), said: “The Children’s Trust has prioritised this area as a key focus for improvement. I am confident that by working together the levels of teenage pregnancy in Cheshire East will reduce at an increasing rate over time.”

The Cheshire East Children’s Trust comprises Cheshire East Council, Central and Eastern Cheshire PCT, Connexions and schools’ representatives.

‘Pothole-busters’ in action on Cheshire East roads

Cheshire East Council’s hi-tech ‘pothole-busting’ machines have been in action tackling the damage to roads done by recent ice and snow.

Two Asphalt Re-lay machines were on the streets of Wilmslow, impressing local councillors by fixing cracks and holes with joint-free repairs that combat the ravages of winter more effectively.

Cheshire East Council says the recent severe weather conditions have left roads exposed to ‘freeze-thaw’ damage.

This happens when water seeps into cracks in the road and is frozen. It then expands, causing the road surface to break up and cause potholes to form.

Cheshire East Council and its contractor BAM Nuttall, along with Crewe-based local award-winning partners Asphalt Re-lay, now use new technologies as one of their array of tools to repair potholes. An infra-red heat source, with additional materials is added to the pothole and compacted to provide a joint-free permanent patch.

Councillor Rod Menlove, Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services, who was on hand to see the Re-lay pothole-busters in action in Wilmslow, said: “The council is working hard to keep drivers safer by fixing the holes as quickly as possible.

“This hi-tech Re-lay equipment helps us do this effectively, quickly and efficiently.”

Cheshire East Council’s area highway manager John McGowan said: “We have up to four of these Re-lay machines in action at any one time as part of our resources to tackle potholes and other road damage and they are going to be kept in action pretty solidly for the next few months. This technology is one of our tools for repairing the ravages of the winter weather.

“This severe weather period has inevitably had an effect on the road surface and we have seen an increase in the number and size of potholes from what we would expect over a normal winter period.

“We continue to encourage people to report potholes and other damage caused by the weather so that we can give our urgent attention to them. In the meantime, we would urge people to drive carefully on stretches of road where they know potholes have developed until we can fix them.”

Residents are asked to report to the authority any defects on local roads, pavements or footways, so they can be repaired as soon as possible.

Since January, there has been a 100 per cent increase in pothole reports for the same period last year.

The authority deals with over 20,000 highway defects every year.

Local residents can report potholes to Cheshire East Council on 0300 123 5500 or online by going to


Work began this week on the major refurbishment of Lyceum Square in Crewe.

The £1.7 million project has as been jointly funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and Cheshire East Council (CEC).

The refurbishment will include:

· A new, modern market café.
· High specification toilets with disabled changing facilities.
· Bespoke granite seating areas.
· New, modern lighting and cycle stands.
· 54 car park spaces with disabled car parking.

The work is expected to take six months to complete.

On Monday January 11, all traders from the town centre’s outdoor market were moved to their temporary home at the nearby Market Square.

Local market traders have been involved in this project, with two separate drop-in consultation sessions held in November and December 2009. This allowed traders to raise any questions they had about the temporary move and the refurbishment.

The indoor market will remain open as normal throughout the refurbishment.

Cabinet member with responsibility for the Environment, Councillor Rod Menlove said:

“I am pleased the refurbishment is now underway. Once complete, Lyceum Square will become one of Crewe town centre’s iconic developments.

I would like to thank local traders and shoppers for their continued patience and understanding. Every effort has been made to minimise disruption and market traders have been involved in the consultation process.

“This is what people in Crewe deserve; a contemporary, comfortable environment in which to trade and shop.”

Cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity, Councillor Jamie Macrae added: “The future prosperity of Crewe is a main priority for Cheshire East Council and we are delighted that this project is now up and running.

“As Cheshire East’s largest town, Crewe’s future economic growth and a resulting healthy economy will not only benefit its own businesses and residents, but also build on the strength of Cheshire East and indeed, the whole region.”

Paul Lakin, Executive Director of Land and Property at the NWDA, said:

“The regeneration work planned at Lyceum Square will be a significant boost to the image of the town centre and will bring real economic benefits for Crewe. It is excellent that work is beginning and the new Lyceum Square will be soon ready to attract new visitors and investors to Crewe. “

Thursday 25 February 2010

Community “Eyes and Ears” Granted £0.5million Further Funding From Cheshire East

Community “Eyes and Ears” Granted £0.5million Further Funding From Cheshire East

They’ve been dubbed the eyes and ears of our community by police chiefs, and now Cheshire East Council has committed over half a million pounds towards part funding 16 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) over the next three years.

It means residents throughout Cheshire East will continue to have a reassuring police presence in their communities, as part of the Safer Cheshire East Partnership (SCEP).

The SCEP - a multi-agency approach to neighbourhood policing - previously received funding from the former borough councils of Crewe, Macclesfield and Congleton. Now Cheshire East Council will carry on that tradition with a pledge of £188,800 every year for the next three consecutive years.

Councillor Brian Silvester, who is chairman of the SCEP and Cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said the funding represented Cheshire East Council’s commitment to ensuring residents remained safe in their communities.

He said: “PCSOs do a marvellous job ensuring that a high visible police presence is maintained on our streets to tackle anti-social behaviour, crime and the fear of crime.

“Funding pledged by the former borough councils is about to run out which is why Cheshire East Council has stepped up to the plate with a promise to keep this vital resource going for the next three years.”

One resident considered moving out of her home because anti-social behaviour was so bad in the area.

But now 82 year-old Cath Harvey says she feels safer in her Crewe home where she has lived for the past 46 years.

She said: “The police do a good job, but to see PCSOs face-to-face and walking around is just great.

“I was seriously considering moving out of my home because we had 40 or so lads fighting in the area and it was really very frightening.

“But now any fears or problems or advice that I need, they’re always on hand to help.”

PCSOs were introduced under the Policing Reform Act of 2002, and help tackle the menace of anti-social behaviour by patrolling a beat and interacting with the public to gather intelligence.

They also work very closely with the council’s Community Wardens and support Cheshire Constabulary Police Officers during major incidents and events.

They can also issue Fixed Penalty Notices on behalf of the council for offences of littering and dog fouling under the Cleaner Safer Neighbourhood Act.

Councillor Silvester added: “The role of the PCSOs is evolving all of the time which is a positive step forward in reducing anti-social behaviour, crime, the fear of crime and creating a safer environment.

“Cheshire East Council wants to be part of this process which is why we have shown our support with this fresh wave of funding.”

Chief Inspector, Peter Crowcroft, said: “We are grateful to all members of the partnership for their support in helping us to continue to recruit and train PCSOs.

“It is a great reflection of the strength of the partnership and shows that we are all working together in a strong and united way to tackle crime and the fear of crime in our communities. The really good news is that the feedback we’ve received from the public about the work of PCSOs, is extremely positive.”

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Cheshire East Leads The Way In Reshaping Early Years Provision

Cheshire East Council is at the leading edge of implementing a new funding system for free early years provision which aims to better meet the local needs of children and families.

The authority is among 56 nationwide selected as ‘pathfinders’ for the system which will reward childcare providers offering a high quality, flexible service and encourage others to raise standards.

All three and four-year-olds are entitled to 12.5 hours of free childcare a week which will increase to 15 hours from September.

Under the existing system, schools with nursery classes are paid according to a different formula than private, voluntary and independent (PVI) childcare providers.

From April the Council will adopt the Single Funding Formula which will improve fairness and transparency in the way funding is allocated.

Providers receive a base rate and are eligible for ‘top ups’ if they meet one or more of a set of criteria which are designed to improve provision.

As well as financial incentives for higher quality and flexibility, extra payments are available for providers in deprived areas and those which serve rural communities.

In Cheshire East there are 25 schools with nursery provision and 179 PVI providers.

Councillor Paul Findlow, Cabinet member with responsibility for children and families, said: “There are currently 5,700 three and four-year-olds accessing their free entitlement to early education in Cheshire East.

“It is our responsibility to ensure there is high quality provision available for every child who requires a free early years place.

“This new system aims to ensure all children get the best possible start in life, regardless of background or income, by providing families with easy access to high quality early learning and childcare that is flexible to their needs.

“We have worked closely with providers to develop a system that is fair to all and we are confident it will create a significantly improved early years service for children and families.”

Under the new system, which is to be rolled out across the rest of the UK in April 2011, each local authority is responsible for tailoring the formula to meet local needs.

In order to develop the proposals in Cheshire East, the Council consulted widely with stakeholders including schools with nursery provision, PVI providers, childminders and unions.

PVI providers are currently paid a set rate for each child while schools with nursery classes are paid according to a formula that funds partly on the number of places available and partly on occupancy.

Anyone requiring further information about the Single Funding Formula can contact the Council’s Family Information Service on 0800 408 2013.

Monday 22 February 2010



More help and advice is on the way for local businesses in Cheshire East, thanks to the work of the Council’s Recession Recovery Group.

‘Let’s Talk Shop’ is an event aimed at independent retailers such as pubs, cafes, restaurants, hairdressers and shops in our Market Towns and rural centres.

It will take place at the Ramada Encore Hotel on the Crewe Business Park on Thursday, March 18, from 6pm until 9.30pm.

The event is free and will feature a keynote speech by entrepreneur Rachel Elnaugh, one of the original ‘Dragons’ in the BBC television series Dragon’s Den.

Bill Smith, a retail business guru from the South Lakes Development Trust, will host an interactive presentation giving an insight into how to make positive first impressions when a customer visits your business, for example:

• How to maximise the space available in a premises
• How to make customers aware what is on offer.
• How to identify innovative retail opportunities.

Bill and Rachel along with Cheshire East Council’s Head of Regeneration, Caroline Simpson, will host a question and answer session. This will give retailers an opportunity to share their experiences and ideas and get helpful information and advice.

Let’s Talk Shop is funded by Cheshire East Council’s Recession Recovery Group.

Bookings are on a first come, first served basis. Local independent retailers are urged to book early to avoid disappointment by email or by telephone on 01270 686374/686377.

A similar event is to be held in Macclesfield during April. The date for this has yet to be finalised.

Cheshire East Councillor, Jamie Macrae, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Prosperity said:

“Cheshire East Council recognises how the continuing recession is affecting local independent retailers. For this reason, it is vital that the authority does all that it can to continue to provide the best advice and guidance to assist this sector of our economy at a local level.

“This event is aimed at boosting the confidence of local, independent retailers and recognising that many small business owners can become isolated during periods of economic downturn. This is about creating a space for open and honest discussion. I am sure those who attend will find it highly motivating. ”

Friday 19 February 2010

Engaging Older People Event

Members of the public are being urged to give their views on health care during an Information and Engagement Event for Older People between 1pm and 5pm on Friday, February 26th.

The event will be held at Beechmere Extra Care Housing, Rolls Avenue, Crewe, CW1 3QD.

There will be workshops, demonstrations and information stands - all designed to encourage people to get involved and help plan health and social care services in to the future.

Come along and try your hand at table tennis, dance classes and physical exercise, or just join in the discussion.

Afternoon tea will be provided so anyone interested in attending should call Pauline Hughes on 01606 544 399 or by emailing

Councillor Roland Domleo, Cabinet member for adult services, who will be holding a special question and answer session, said: “Cheshire East Council and Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trust would like to hear your views so that we can plan health and social care services for older people in 2010-2011 and onwards.

“Senior staff from the local authority and the primary care trust will be on hand to help and there will also be plenty of opportunity for you to have your say about how you would like local health and social care services to be delivered.

“The day is designed to help us meet your needs and make sure that we’re doing all we can to give our residents in Cheshire East the best care in their older age.”


Picture: Nigel Brown, celebrity chef.

Cheshire East Council is taking its ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign on a spring roadshow later this month (26 February to 20 March).

The roadshows will each be fronted by a celebrity chef, either;

Nigel Brown, who owns his own cookery academy and is a star of Ready Steady Cook, or;

Richard Fox, a chef and broadcaster with 25 years experience. He regularly appears on the Good Food Channel.

They will each complete quick-fire cooking demonstrations on how to make more of food that would usually be thrown away.

The roadshows will take place in Crewe, Nantwich, Macclesfield, Knutsford, Wilmslow, Congleton, Middlewich, Sandbach and Poynton.

Phil Sherratt, Head of Environmental Services, said:

“So many of us don’t realise just how much food we throw away on a weekly basis. Our roadshows will show people just how easy it is to cut food waste, simply by planning meals better, storing food more efficiently and being a little more creative with leftovers.”

We throw away 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink in the UK every year. The average UK family could make a saving of £50 a month by cutting down on food waste

“Reducing the amount of food that we waste and therefore send to landfill will also have an environmental impact.”

Nigel Brown added:

“A great deal of effort goes into producing and delivering our food and it's sad to think so much of it ends up in the bin. If I can help people really use everything they buy, they can reduce their weekly spend on groceries and eat healthy imaginative meals. It's what our mum's and grannies have been telling us for years, "waste not, want not", it's time we started listening and acting on their excellent advice.”

For further information or for tips on how to enjoy food but reduce food waste please visit

Handy tips for reducing food waste:
• Cook a large dish and then divide into portions to freeze for another day, great for days when you will be busy or home late.
• Check what's at the back of your fridge and cupboards before shopping and keep an eye on 'Use by' and 'Best before' dates
• Buy your fruit and vegetables loose so you can buy exactly how much you need. This will also reduce packaging.
• Invest in storage containers and bag clips for resealing bags. After opening packets of dried foods such as cereals, rice, flour and pasta, reseal them tightly or transfer them into storage boxes or jars.
• Take time to plan your meals for the week ahead. You'll find it much easier when you are food shopping if you have your meals in mind.
• Packs of meat and fish can be separated into smaller pieces for the freezer so you can take out the right amount you need.
• Some food waste in inevitable, but items like peelings, egg shells and tea bags can be composted to create valuable home compost for your garden.

Mayor Barking Mad Over Clary

Dedicated dog lovers, the Mayor of Cheshire East, Councillor Margaret Simon, and camp comic, Julian Clary, had a lot to chat about when they met backstage at Crewe’s Lyceum Theatre recently.

Clary, who was in town with his outrageous comedy, Lord of the Mince, just adores his two pet dogs, Valerie and Albert. His heart strings were tugged on hearing all about the Mayor’s Charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

The two enthused for quite some time about their canines, before Julian burst on-stage with his latest comedy.

Councillor Simon said: “Julian was absolutely charming and an absolute softy when it came to his beloved pets. We both have a passion for rescued dogs.

“Backstage he’s so natural and friendly and really makes you feel at ease, an altogether milder man than his showbiz persona.

“He was so charismatic and didn’t forget our chat as he mentioned me several times during the show, although, much of the time it was tongue in cheek.“

The Mayor sealed her friendship with Clary by offering him a commemorative plate with the town’s municipal buildings on.

Thursday 18 February 2010

Queens Park Second Bridge

The second bridge arrived at the park yesterday. It taken all week to lay over 800 tons of hardcore in order to get the crane and bridge on site with over 300 tons just for the crane. Its not the biggest bridge but as it has steep paths to it there was difficulty getting a massive lorry and crane down to the site.

It started at about 11 o'clock when the steel work came first and was lifted into place as we all held our breath. As it was built off site and the tolerance was in millimeters would it fit? Well it was perfect right down to the bolt holes. The steel had struts on it so two parts could be lifted at once. It took to about 1:30 to bolt the steel in place.

The bridge then came on site being reversed down a steep hill on a big lorry this was a good bit of driving on the drivers part with only inches to spare. The bridge was split into two parts and lifted into place with no problems. It gives a good idea of what the new bridges will look like when its all finished. The next bridges for Burma Island are expected about 17th March

A full report on the main Queens Park website

“Somebody Else’s Child” - campaign launched

A major campaign begins next week in Cheshire East to increase awareness of ‘Private Fostering’.

Carers, parents and workers in the health and education sectors in Cheshire are being urged to help Cheshire East Council ensure the safety and well-being of children and young people. They are asked to let the Council know about any children who are being cared for by someone who is not a close relative.

The promotion is linked to a national campaign called ‘Somebody Else's Child’, which is run by the British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF), and aims to raise awareness of private fostering. The campaign runs from February 22 to 28.

Private fostering is when a child under 16 (if disabled, under 18) is looked after for more than 28 days by an adult who is not a close relative and by private arrangement between parent and carer. Close relatives are parents, step-parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, brothers or sisters.

It is estimated there are 10,000 children in England and Wales who are not living with a direct relative. Children and Families Services have a legal requirement to ensure these children’s welfare is being safeguarded and to check on the suitability of the adults looking after them.

If you are privately fostering or your child is privately fostered for 28 days or more, you should let the Children and Families Service know immediately by contacting 01625 374700. Failure to do so is not only an offence but could put the child’s safety at risk. People who are private fostering can receive advice and support, and if you have not notified your local authority, you could be missing out.

More information can be found on the Cheshire East Council website at or by going to

Cabinet member with responsibility for the Welfare of Children and Families, Councillor Paul Findlow said: “Many parents of children who are privately fostered, and people who are caring for somebody else's child, may not be aware that the law requires them to inform their local council of the arrangements they have made. It is important that we know about privately fostered children in Cheshire East so that we can ensure that they are safe and support both the children and their carers. We want to help and be able to provide support and advice when needed.”

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Empower Card –

Caption from L to R
Martin Polak - Boston Marks, Jonathan Nixon - Citi, Stuart Hall, Cllr Roland Domleo - Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Jackie Alexander and Wynn Spencer - Manager for Social Care Redesign Cheshire East Council.

Giving People Power to Lead Independent Lives

A unique debit card – the first of its kind in the country – that will enable older people and those with disabilities to lead more independent lives, has been launched during a prestigious event organised by Cheshire East Council.

The Empower Card is a unique pre-loaded VISA card for individuals across Cheshire East who receive a personal budget for the costs of their social care. Up until now, the money was paid as cash in to a bank account, but now people can opt to have the money loaded on to the Empower debit card. This was revealed exclusively to the press and public during the Unlocking the Future exhibition at Wychwood Park Hotel, near Crewe.

Broadcaster, Stuart Hall, one of Cheshire East’s most well-known residents who recently turned 80 years old, officially opened the exhibition and showed his support for the revolutionary Empower Card.

Unlocking the Future exhibition was a public exhibition providing a one-stop shop for anyone involved in sourcing or delivering adult services in the public sector. Over 100 company representatives were under the same roof to demonstrate their services and products – the Empower Card being one of the highlights. Services on show included mobility aids, vehicles, care services and voluntary organisations.

So, who will use the Empower Card? Any adult who opts for a personal budget from Cheshire East Council to pay for their social care. For example, Victoria, 20, lives at home with her parents and has physical and emotional problems.

Victoria’s mum, Jackie, will be the very first carer to receive the Empower Card so that Victoria can have her personal budget loaded onto the card. Under the old system, Victoria would have had her money paid into a bank account. The Empower Card will allow Jackie a very convenient way to pay for three staff (around the same age as her daughter) as personal assistants to Victoria.

The Empower Card will help Jackie to manage Victoria’s personal budget much more efficiently and make life easier. For example the card will enable her to pay the staff she employs to look after Vicky speedily by direct transfer rather than issue a cheque, pay directly for some of her activities such as horse riding over the internet or by telephone and purchase items for Vicky using the card. She will no longer have to manage as much paperwork as all the card’s transactions are logged via her monthly statement and her Care Manager will be able to oversee her budget much more efficiently.

So, how does the Empower Card work? For someone receiving a personal budget Social Services work out how much that budget will be, and if it is appropriate and requested, the amount is credited to the Empower Card on a regular basis. Cheshire East Council can monitor the debits and credits to the Empower Card and ensure the system is being used to maximise benefits for the individual.

So, how does it differ from the old scheme? Before personal budgets were available, social care packages for individuals like Victoria were assessed and an offer was made of a standard service list of service provisions, such as access to Council Day Centres. However with personal budgets many more options are available such as employing a personal assistant and taking a taxi to go to the theatre, shopping or the library.

So, why is the system changing? The number of older people in Cheshire East is rising dramatically. This is set to put an enormous pressure on social care services. By 2021 the number of people aged over 85 years-old will have risen by 45 per cent. Those aged 65 – 84 will have risen by almost a third.

Under the Government’s “Putting People First Transformation Programme” all English councils should be offering personal budgets by April this year, and Cheshire East Council is leading the way with almost 1,200 residents currently receiving a personal budget. The Empower Card is an innovative new initiative that will speed up the usage of personal budgets and streamline administration, but will not be compulsory for people receiving a personal budget.

Councillor Roland Domleo, Cabinet member for adult services, said: “The new Empower Card will make it much easier for those already on a personal budget, and those about to receive one, to manage their money in the most convenient way.

“Personal budgets have been around for 10 years but now everyone will be offered one, although they don’t have to take up the offer. The Empower card will make personal budgets even more attractive.

“It is all part of the push by Cheshire East Council to improve the quality of life for all of our residents by giving them choice, access and control.”

Martin Polak, director of Cheshire-based Boston Marks, the company behind the development of the Empower Card in partnership with Cheshire East Council and Citi, said: “The card truly marks a significant step forward for local authorities, empowering those in receipt of self-directed support to make decisions that will directly affect their daily lives in a positive way.

“It is the first technology initiative of its type anywhere in the country and is testament to Cheshire East’s desire to use the best combined payment and technology solution currently available.

“The Empower Card is totally auditable, ensuring best value is received. People in receipt of personal budgets will now be able to plan and manage their own spend on daily items, which in many cases will represent complete freedom and empowerment to run their own financial affairs, in ways which were never dreamed possible before.”

Council Tax to rise by only 1.7%

Cheshire East Council's Cabinet has recommended a below-inflation 1.7% increase on its element of Council Tax, the lowest in Cheshire.

For the majority of householders in B and A to C homes, this will mean a rise of between just 26p and 35p per week, while for band D owners, it is 39p a week.

The increase comes in well below the rate of inflation but still allows for considerable investment in key services. It also mirrors the feedback from residents during the Council’s consultation exercises, which highlighted a preference for a small rise rather than across the board service cuts.

In order to continue delivering the same high level of services, Cheshire East Council must raise a total of £240m. This year's Government grant is £63m, leaving £177m to be raised from Council Tax.

The Council also collects Council Tax on behalf of the Police and the Fire and Rescue Services. Overall, therefore, the total increase is expected to be still only 1.86%, making it one of the lowest increases in the UK.

Leader of the Council, Wesley Fitzgerald, said: "Setting our budget this year has been very hard but we have made sure the Council Tax increase is modest whilst still allowing us to invest in key services.

“I am pleased to say that we are planning to invest £4.6m to address the on-going pressures in Children’s Services. Part of the additional income from Council Tax will also be used to invest a further £0.8m in this service which will actually help us deliver savings of £3.6m over three years.

“Our adult services have recently undergone a significant redesign. We have now streamlined them all into one service, to deliver savings of £3.7m.. Indeed, many aspects of this service are already rated as excellent.

“A further saving of £2.5m over three years is expected following the transformation of Health and Wellbeing services which we have delivered. Other investments we are planning include £2.1m in waste minimisation and recycling, and £300k for economic recovery projects. A further £100k is being provided to promote take-up of benefits, making sure residents are able to access benefits they are genuinely entitled to.

“We are confident this is a budget that will benefit every resident of Cheshire East and allow the Council to achieve its vision of working to improve community life,” he added.

Healthy Lunch Box

Picture caption:
Kathy Cornford, Environmental Health Officer with the Health Improvement Team, shows off a healthy school lunch box with school children William Booth and Megan Shufflebotham

Unsure how to put together the perfect tasty but nutritious lunch box for your child? Well help is at hand. . .

Turkey twizzlers may have been banished from school dinner plates but children on packed lunches are still eating too much junk.

British children eat 5.5 billion packed lunches each year but the latest research has revealed only one per cent of these meet the nutritional standards set for their classmates on school meals.

In Cheshire East, schools have been working hard to provide good, nutritious food to help provide a balanced, healthy diet for a growing child.

But although education watchdog Ofsted says schools must have a policy on packed lunches, there is no legal requirement that they comply with the nutritional standards applied to their canteens. And figures show that more than half of children in East Cheshire take a lunch box to school.

Sheila Woolstencroft, health promotions and improvements manager at Cheshire East Council, said there are a few simple steps parents can take to ensure their youngsters get a balanced and tasty diet from their lunch box –that’s packed with appealing flavours too.

But first, many mums and dads need to break some bad habits.

A recent Leeds University study, commissioned by the Food Standards Agency and the first of its kind, found 82 per cent of pupils’ lunch boxes contained foods high in saturated fat, salt and sugar – items such as crisps, biscuits and sweets.

Only one in five lunch boxes contained any vegetables or salad and only about half included an item of fruit. In the overwhelming majority of cases, even these fell well below the standards required of school dinners.

Sheila Woolstencroft said: “Youngsters do not have to give up the foods they most enjoy for the sake of their health – just eat some foods in smaller quantities or less frequently.

“Variety and a change towards eating more fruit and vegetables are what really matters. It is important to try to choose a variety of foods as part of a balanced diet and cut back on foods high in fat, sugar and salt.”

Parents can help get the balance right by remembering to:

● Include a good helping of fruit and vegetables – aim for a portion of each towards the five-a-day total;
● Have some starchy food – like bread, rice, potatoes or pasta;
● Choose some lean protein – try tuna or salmon tinned in water, boiled eggs, beans or lean meat like turkey or chicken;
● Have some low-fat dairy food – like low-fat yoghurt, fromage frais or reduced-fat cheese;
● Add a drink – water, pure unsweetened juice or low-fat milk;
● Check the labels of processed foods to help you make the healthiest choices about saturated fat, salt and sugar.

School meal standards were introduced in 2006, due to growing evidence linking adult ill health with obesity or poor diet in childhood.

They limit the amount of foods high in sugars, salt and fats which can be served and require school meals to provide a third of youngsters’ daily requirements of every nutrient for health. No similar standards apply to lunch boxes.

Councillor Paul Findlow, Cabinet member with responsibility for children and family services, said: “While we understand that some children prefer to take packed lunches to school, the research from Leeds University clearly indicates that they are not getting the same benefit from their midday meal as their classmates on school dinners.

“Where packed meals are of poor quality, this could have serious implications for levels of childhood obesity and its long-term consequences.”

Councillor Andrew Knowles, Cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Ensuring children eat a balanced and nutritious packed lunch is vital for tackling the problem of obesity and poor health in later life.

“Parents can play an important role in steering their children towards healthier foods that can not only boost their health and wellbeing but also their performance in the classroom.”

A View to the Future

Cheshire East residents are being encouraged to “have their say” on the big issues in their communities.

Their valued views will be included in one of the most influential planning documents in the area, the Community Strategy, which shapes the future for the next fifteen years.

To help members of the public contribute to this consultation, which is being carried out by Cheshire East Council and its partner agencies (see below for the full list) a number of events are taking place in February and March and there is also an opportunity to get involved online.

Councillor David Brown, cabinet member for performance and capacity, said: “We want views about hospitals, schools, transport, libraries, planning and any other services in the public domain that affect people’s lives on a regular basis.

“The aim of this consultation with the people of Cheshire East is to ensure that we are planning ahead in ways which meet the needs of the people living here right now.

“We hope the views will give us a valuable insight in to how life is now for people and how we can, together, shape our communities for a better future.”

For those members of the public who are interested in attending one of the special events organised by Cheshire East Council - where they can meet council officers and have their say - all they need to do is book a place by calling 01270 685808 or emailing

The events are taking place in the following areas on these dates;

• Knutsford – Tuesday, February 23
• Macclesfield, Wednesday, February 24
• Nantwich, Thursday, February 25
• Crewe, Tuesday, March 2
• Congleton, Thursday, March 4

Members of the public can contribute to the discussion paper at local council offices or alternatively from the council’s website – – where the public can submit their views online.


17 February 2010


A garage in Crewe which is a member of Cheshire East Council’s Golden Spanner Garage Approval Scheme has recently been crowned CAT Magazine’s ‘Garage of the Year 2010.’

The magazine, which serves the Car and Accessory Trade (CAT) asked readers and garage customers to vote for their industry champions

This award is recognised nationally and entries were from all over the country.

The garage, ABP Motorsport Ltd of Shavington, Crewe, received their award at a presentation ceremony held in London recently, which was attended by over 100 motor industry professionals.

Their nomination was in recognition of their efforts in striving to achieve high levels of customer service in the garage industry.

Cheshire East Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Brian Silvester, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Safer and Stronger Communities said:

“My congratulations go to Chris and all his staff at ABP Motorsport Ltd for their hard work in achieving this national award. They have always achieved excellent results in the Golden Spanner Scheme’s mystery shopper visits.

“There were six nominees for this category and the fact that ABP received the highest number of public votes is especially pleasing.

“Although ABP, which has been established since 1964, specialises in high performance cars it caters for all makes and models and has a loyal client base.”

ABP’s Managing Director, Chris Meredith added:

“I believe it is our attitude to customers that gives us the edge and whether a customer brings in a Porsche or a modest hatchback, they are all given the same attention.”

Garages, both sales and car service and repair, can become holders of a Golden Spanner if they meet the requirements set by Cheshire East Trading Standards.
For further information about the Golden Spanner Scheme, please contact:

Consumer Direct 08454 04 05 06 or the website

Regular inspections and customer feedback ensure garages maintain the rigorous standards they achieved to become part of the scheme including a complete compliance with the 'spirit and letter of the law.'
To achieve 'Approved' status, car sales, service or repair businesses must:
• Ensure that all descriptions are accurate, honest and truthful.
• Produce a consumer checklist for each used vehicle and pass on relevant information on vehicles' histories to consumers.
• Ensure that only roadworthy vehicles are supplied for use on the road and take reasonable steps to verify mileage using disclaimers where the true mileage cannot be verified.
Car Servicing and Repair businesses must:
• Have in place suitable procedures to ensure that any work requested is properly carried out.
• Monitor work by checking a proportion of jobs, recording these checks and any corrective action.
• Obtain the customer's permission before doing any extra work required, retain replaced parts for customers to inspect and give detailed invoices.
Members have to undergo independently commissioned 'mystery shopper' visits which ensure that they remain up to scratch. Members’ meetings staged twice a year keep them updated on issues within the motor industry and consumer legislation which could affect them.

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Ready, Steady, Go! - Sport Relief 2010

Now is the time to get sporty for a good cause, as Cheshire East Council calls on members of the public to get in shape for a major charity run.

The Sainsbury’s Sports Relief Mile 2010 is a national event that will take place in Cheshire East on Sunday, March 21st, in association with Comic Relief.

Cheshire East Council is asking people to take part in one of two sponsored runs, of at least a mile, to help raise much needed cash to help transform the lives of the poor and vulnerable here in the UK and across the world.

Councillor Andrew Knowles, Cabinet member with responsibility for health and wellbeing, said: “This is a great opportunity to do something really worthwhile and get in shape for Spring.

“Individuals, friends, families and companies, are urged to sign up and start training now for the big day.

“You can walk, run or jog – it’s up to you how you tackle it, but taking part is what’s important.

“And even if you don’t fancy running to raise funds, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved behind-the-scenes.”

Two separate runs will take place; one at The Cumberland Arena in Crewe and one at the Macclesfield Leisure Centre.

Those taking part can choose from a one, three or six-mile sponsored run. There will also be family activities on the day for spectators to enjoy.

To sign up for either of the events log on to Or, if you would like to get involved and help out call Andy Molyneux on 01270 537232 for the Crewe event. Call Keith Rogers on 01625 504512 for the Macclesfield event.

Saturday 13 February 2010

Unitary Authority Electoral Review 2009/2010


Submission to the Boundary Committee on Electoral Arrangements


1.1. The Electoral Review of Cheshire East Council commenced on 24th February 2009, and has previously involved two stages of public consultation on (1) Council size and (2) the warding arrangements for the Authority. Cheshire East Council made detailed submissions at both of these earlier stages, taking into account, wherever possible, the views of Town and Parish Councils and other interested bodies. The Boundary Committee (BC) has indicated that it is minded to adopt a Council size of 82 Members (in line with the Council’s proposals), and has now published Draft Recommendations on the new electoral arrangements for the Council.


2.1. The Draft Recommendations were published by the BC on 10th November 2009, for a ten weeks period of public consultation. However, due to the need for a number of numerical and mapping errors to be corrected, the deadline for responses was extended to 15th February 2010. The Recommendations make provision for six 3 Member Wards, eighteen 2 Member Wards, and twenty-eight single Member Wards (52 Wards in total). Interested parties are now invited to comment on any aspects of these electoral proposals, including the proposed Ward boundaries, the number of Councillors, Ward names, and consequential Parish and Town Council electoral arrangements.

2.2. The final stage of the Review will follow the consultation deadline of 15th February, when the BC will review these draft Recommendations in the light of representations received, and decide whether or not they should be altered. Final Proposals will be published by the BC in May 2010. They will then be subject to Parliamentary process, and formally brought into force by Statutory Order.


3.1. As at previous stages of the Review, the Council’s response has been guided by an all-Party Members Task Group. The Group has given careful consideration to the Draft Recommendations, and has overseen the production of this submission, which sets out the Authority’s response as approved by the full Council on 25th January 2010. The views and responses of other interested parties have been taken into consideration where known, recognising that they may make their own comments directly to the BC as part of the public consultation process.

3.2. Whilst the BC’s recommendations on the number of Wards and the number of Councillors for each vary to a degree from the Council’s earlier submission, the Council is minded broadly to support the BC’s proposals, including the general thrust of the Ward and member configurations identified above. However, there e a number of areas where the Council disagrees with the proposals and wishes to make further representations as set out in this document. The areas and Wards concerned are dealt with in detail in the following sections, but may be summarised as:-

(a) Wilmslow – Dean Row and Handforth
(b) Poynton – relating to Adlington, Lyme Handley and Kettleshulme
(c) Crewe Town
(d) Willaston, Rope and Wistaston
(e) Nantwich and Wybunbury
(f) Haslington and Sandbach
(g) Macclesfield Town
(h) Ward names in the Congleton area

3.3. Reference was made in the Council’s last submission to the requirement to conduct a Community Governance Review (CGR) of the un-parished area of Crewe Town. The CGR has now been completed, following two stages of public consultation locally. At the Special meeting on 25 January 2010, the Council resolved:
“Having taken into account all consultation responses made during the second stage of consultation, and having regard to the need to ensure that Community Governance within the area reflects the identities and interests of the Community, and is effective and convenient, that the draft recommendation of the Council of 15 October 2009 be reaffirmed, i.e. ‘To accept the vote from the people of Crewe and to reject the notion of a Town Council for Crewe at this time’.”
Accordingly, there are no implications for the Electoral Review of Cheshire East Council arising from the Crewe CGR.


4.1. The Council’s original proposal for this area was for a single Wilmslow North Ward, covering the communities of Dean Row and Handforth, represented by three Councillors, which achieved good electoral equality of +0.1% from the average.

4.2. The difficulty with this area in electoral equality terms is that both communities have similar electorates of 5000 – 5500, which indicates that they should each be represented by 1.5 Councillors. The BC proposal seeks to address this problem by transferring a substantial number of electors from one community to the other (in this case Dean Row to Handforth) in order to create one, 2- Member Ward and one single-Member ward and thereby achieve electoral equality. The Council believes that this would be at the expense of the community identities in the area.

4.3. Whichever way around the transfer of electors is carried out, it will be harmful to one of the communities. The Council’s submission is that it is better to reflect the local community identities and avoid artificial boundaries by approving a single, 3-Member Ward for the whole area, which would also bring with it good electoral equality. This proposal is made on the following basis:

(a) The natural boundary between the two communities is well recognised locally as the river Dean. To the north of the river lies Handforth, and to the south is Wilmslow, of which Dean Row is part. This is evidenced by the fact that main road names change as they cross the river, i.e. Wilmslow Road in Handforth (former A34) becomes Manchester Road in Dean Row; and Dean Road (Handforth) becomes Handforth Road in Dean Row (B5358) at this point.

(b) The BC proposal places the Colshaw Farm and Finney Green areas of Wilmslow (Dean Row), all of which are located south of the river Dean, into Handforth to the north. This means that Wilmslow’s cemetery, the Dean Row Community Centre and the local Dean Row Shopping Centre (Summerfields) would be located out of the town and in the Handforth Ward, which is not consistent with local community identities. It would mean that representation of Dean Row residents would lie in the hands of Handforth Councillors.

(c) To achieve the BC’s proposal requires the transfer of the whole of Polling District 8EE1 (1291 electors) and the major part of PD 8EA (595 electors), a total of 1886 electors, from Wilmslow (Dean Row) to Handforth in order to arrive at electoral equality within the tolerance. This would continue the decision made in the 2001 Macclesfield Borough Review when PD 8EE1 was moved to Handforth. This outcome generated a good deal of local opposition in the community. Many regard it as having been an error and there is now the opportunity to correct the position in line with the community’s preferences.

(d) There is a large degree of affinity between these distinct but linked communities, evidenced by:-

• The excellent major road and rail links between Wilmslow and Handforth
• Secondary school transfer by Handforth pupils is normally to Wilmslow High School
• Both Dean Row (Colshaw Farm) and Handforth (Spath Lane) contain substantial Manchester “overspill” housing from the 1950s
• The major “out of town” shopping centre serving the area is named “Handforth Dean”

(e) The Council’s proposal for a single, 3-Member Ward would render irrelevant and overcome the difficult issue of the transfer of a part of Dean Row to Handforth. It would achieve good electoral equality for the Ward of 3400 electors per Councillor in 2013.

(f) A Petition has been received requiring a Community Governance Review of Wilmslow and Handforth. Although the outcome cannot be anticipated, should there be a decision to create Parish or Town Councils in the area, the Polling Districts within both Dean Row and Handforth would lend themselves well to forming Parish Wards, without any need for further Ward boundary changes. There could, for example, readily be Parish Wards based on Colshaw Farm and Spath Lane housing estates, which would further enhance local governance and community identities in the area.

4.4. Accordingly, the Council remains strongly of the view that a single, 3-Member Ward for the Handforth and Dean Row areas is the solution which best reflects local community wishes, avoids causing damage to any of these community identities and achieves very good electoral equality. The Council would also now propose that the 3 Member Ward is named “Dean Row and Handforth” rather than “Wilmslow North” as previously suggested. The proposed Ward boundaries are shown on Map 1 attached.

4.5. The Council also proposes that the Wilmslow Lacey Green Ward should be named “Wilmslow Lacey Green and Styal Ward” as this better reflects the local community identities in the area.


5.1. The Council’s proposal for this area was for two, 2-Member Wards, namely Poynton West and Poynton East and Adlington. Whilst the BC has accepted the principle of two Poynton Wards, each returning two Councillors and requiring some linkage with adjoining communities, their preference is for Adlington to be joined with Poynton West, citing better transport links and accessibility as the main reasons. The Council would wish to make further submissions in support of the initial proposal that Adlington should be warded with Poynton East. The Council understands that this is also the strong view of Poynton with Worth Town Council. Cheshire East is also aware that Adlington Parish Council (bearing in mind their expressed preference to be warded with Prestbury and Mottram St Andrew) would rather be warded with Poynton East should they have to be joined with Poynton at all.

5.2. It would appear that the BC has accepted the general evidence of economic, transport, educational and other links between Poynton and Adlington. It is also the case that Poynton and Adlington formed a single Cheshire County Council electoral division between 1974 and 2001, so the association is well understood by the local communities. However, the Council feels that, in particular, local transport links most used by the community are the rural buses linking Adlington more with Poynton East. The bus services connect up the small hamlets within Adlington, and give access to the eastern and more rural part of Poynton, which has more affinity with the rural character of Adlington. The Council also accepts that Pott Shrigley should be included with Poynton East and Adlington, which would reinforce the generally rural character of the whole area. These links are more relevant to the local communities than to the more commuter-orientated road and rail connections through Adlington and Poynton West.

5.3. Although the Poynton Business Park lies within Adlington (which also has its own Business Park), the workforce and customers found at both of these Parks came from both Poynton and Adlington (and beyond) so any direct link with Poynton West is not critical. Many Poynton residents use Adlington businesses on Wood Lane and Moggie Lane, both of which are nearer to Poynton East.

5.4. With regard to the boundary line between Poynton East and West Wards, the Council supports the proposed change advocated by the Town Council, that the centre line of Dickens Lane provides the strongest and most locally identifiable boundary between the two Wards, with all of Vernon Road and Spring Road being in Poynton West. This line also follows Polling District boundaries and avoids the need for any split Polling Districts.

5.5. Looking a little further afield, the Council is unable to understand the BC’s proposed inclusion of Kettleshulme in Poynton East, as it is several miles from the town and the road links are poor. The better road links are with Rainow, which is also well served by the local buses. The Council would therefore want to argue again for its initial submission that Kettleshulme has much greater affinity with Rainow, and that it should therefore be in the Sutton Ward together with Rainow Parish. Should the proposal below concerning Lyme Handley be accepted, there would in fact be no link at all between Kettleshulme and Poynton.

5.6. The Council would wish to press again for its initial proposal for Lyme Handley to be included in the Disley Ward, which is also supported by Disley Parish Council. Lyme Handley has no direct connection by road with Poynton, the only access being by footpath, and Lyme Handley’s only road link is with Disley. Previously, Lyme Handley and Disley formed a single ward for Macclesfield Borough Council and all of the polling places for Lyme Handley are in Disley. There are strong historic links between the Lord Newton family of Lyme Hall and Disley. Lord Newton is patron of Disley Parish Church. The deceased of Lyme Handley are buried in Disley Parish Church’s graveyard and children from Lyme Handley attend school in Disley. Accordingly, the community of Lyme Handley is much more closely identified with Disley than Poynton.

5.7. The effect of these proposals overall would be for Poynton West Ward to have an electorate of 6389 with Poynton East & Adlington Ward containing 6801. This figure reflects the removal of the 278 electors from Kettleshulme to Sutton which becomes 3892 electors as a result of this change, and 122 from Lyme Handley to Disley, which would then have an electorate of 3726. However, should the Council’s proposal to transfer Lyme Green (552 electors) from Sutton to Macclesfield Moss be accepted (see 10.1 below), the Sutton Ward electorate would reduce to 3340. It should also be noted that the planned development of an Extra Care Residential Home in Poynton East at the former Vernon Infants School site in Bulkeley Road has now been approved, thereby increasing the Ward electorate by up to 130 in the near future. Taken overall, therefore, these proposals would result in good electoral equality across all of the Wards concerned.

5.8. In summary, the Council is making representations as shown on Map 2 attached on the basis of:-

• A Poynton West Ward.
• A Poynton East and Adlington Ward (including Pott Shrigley but not including Kettleshulme or Lyme Handley which should be in Sutton and Disley Wards respectively).
• Adjustment to the boundary between the East and West Wards of Poynton in the Dickens Lane area, as proposed by the Town Council.


6.1. The Council recognises the virtue of having clear and distinct boundaries formed by the railway lines in the urban part of Crewe. With regard to the proposed Crewe East Ward, the Council reluctantly accepts the difficulty of splitting the area into individual wards and therefore does not propose any change to the draft recommendations.

6.2. The BC Draft Recommendations split the North Western Area of Crewe into four single member wards: Central; North; Leighton and St Barnabas. The Council proposes only one small change to this arrangement. This involves a redrawing of the line between the Leighton and St Barnabas Wards so that James Atkinson Way and a number of small Closes off the way are fully included in the Leighton Ward. This area forms a small estate which is currently split by the Draft Recommendation; a proposal which would involve two separate Councillors being involved in any problems or consultations involving this small community. The revised boundary as shown on Map 3 would run to the rear of Skylark Close and join the BC’s recommended boundary adjacent to the top of Wheelman Road. The change would not split the parish of Leighton nor would it involve splitting the PD FJ4. There is a strong measure of community support for this proposal, as a petition containing 185 signatures strongly objecting to the proposal of the BC and asking that the whole of the estate remain within the Leighton Ward has been submitted to the Council.

6.3. If approved, this proposal would result in 334 electors moving from St Barnabas Ward into Leighton Ward, giving new electorates of 3297 and 3926 respectively. Although in Leighton this exceeds the normal tolerance on electoral equality, the community identity arguments and the strength of feeling among local residents make this an exceptional case.

6.4. The BC draft recommendations split the South Western Area of Crewe into two, 2-Member Wards – West and South. The Council proposes several changes to this arrangement:

6.5. Firstly, the Council believes there is a better line that can be drawn between the two Wards. It proposes two changes to the line: at the south end the small polling district BD2 should move into the West Ward, where it has traditionally been, moving the boundary line to Nantwich Road, making it a stronger and much more simple line. This is the current boundary line between the existing Crewe West and South Wards. At the north end of the line, the current proposal cuts diagonally west to east in a series of steps. A better line would be the west extremity of PD DD1 which would run along Franklin Avenue (to the rear of the houses) and then along Jubilee Avenue and Stewart Street to the railway. DD1 is currently in the existing South Ward and mainly consists of terraced housing very similar to the rest of the ward.

6.6. Secondly, the Council believes that polling district GM2 (Gresty Brook Parish Ward of Shavington-cum-Gresty Parish Council, containing 558 electors) has little in common with the rest of Crewe South Ward and should, instead, be incorporated into Shavington Ward. Although there is no direct road link between Gresty Brook and the remainder of the Parish, there is good pedestrian access across Gresty Brook itself. This would have the added advantage of creating a single ward fully co-terminous with the local Parish of Shavington-cum-Gresty, making the area a convenient and effective unit of local government.The effect of these changes to the three Wards involved would result in an evening-up of the variances in the West and South Wards and a similar absolute variance in Shavington (but positive instead of negative).

6.7. Thirdly, dependent on the foregoing changes being made in Crewe West, the Council believes there is a further opportunity to create two, single-member Wards in the area (rather than the one, 2-member Ward proposed by the BC). One Ward would comprise the area to the north of Queen’s Park (Hughes Drive area), the former Hospital site to the north-east, and the housing estate on the south side. This would continue as the West Ward comprising PD’s BF1, BB1 and BA1. The remaining PD’s namely BC1, BD1, BD2 and BB2 together with part of PD FG2 (Flixton Drive) covering the area to the north of Gainsborough Infants School would form a new King’s Grove Ward. These arrangements would be well understood by the local communities, as they are based on the former Crewe & Nantwich Borough Ward of Ruskin Park. Good electoral equality would be retained in the two, single-member Wards, as Crewe West would have 3312 electors (-5%) and Kings Grove 3823 (+9%).

6.8 All of these proposed changes for the South Western Area of Crewe are shown on Map 4.


7.1. Currently called Rope Ward, the draft recommendations split the area with three wards: one, 2-member Wistaston Ward; one, single-member Willaston and Rope Ward and one, single-member Shavington Ward.

7.2. Subject to the addition of Gresty Brook Parish Ward (PD GM2) to the Shavington Ward as detailed in the Crewe Area changes (paragraph 6.6, above), the Council is happy with the Shavington Ward proposal. The Council also accepts the changes proposed which extend the Wistaston Ward into the Wistaston Green area thus enabling a common Ward and Civil Parish boundary. This means the whole of Wistaston Parish is now within the same Council Ward. The Council is however most unhappy about the thoroughly artificial Willaston and Rope Ward. These two parishes have no significant community links (indeed they are completely separate communities) and the only road link (Eastern Road) is an inadequate country lane which is mainly used as a rat-run to access the Shavington Bypass. The Council also notes that Willaston Parish is split into two parts by the proposals with the northern part of the Parish in the Wistaston Ward.

7.3. The Council believes a better solution would be to combine the proposed Wistaston and Willaston and Rope Wards into a 3-member single Ward (retaining the name Rope) as shown on Map 5. This Ward would then neatly and totally encompass the full parishes of Wistaston, Willaston and Rope. It is a good example of how a single, 3-member Ward would be better understood and supported by the communities concerned, and would better reflect convenient local governance with the Ward and Parish arrangements being clearly defined with each other. The proposed single ward would have an electorate of 11420 (11520 by 2013) and, therefore, a variation of +9% in 2008 and +8% in 2013. This compares favourably with +11% and +10% for Willaston and Rope and +8% and +7% for Wistaston Ward in the draft recommendations.


8.1. With regard to the recommendations on a future Wybunbury Ward, the Council has reviewed the position further and, in the light of local representations, would now contend that Stapeley Rural (including Batherton) is not part of Nantwich and has much more in common with the conjoining Parishes of Wybunbury and Hatherton & Walgherton (all in the Wybunbury Ward). Whilst this could see the division of Stapeley Parish Council, we strongly believe that these areas are rural: the housing is ribbon development on Wybunbury Lane, London Road and Broad Lane and not part of Nantwich. The ribbon housing on these roads is no more part of the Nantwich community than Hatherton & Walgtherton, Hough, Shavington or Wybunbury. For example, most young children go to Wybunbury Sir John Delves and Stapeley Broad Lane Primary Schools and not primary schools in Nantwich. The boundary between the Nantwich South and Wybunbury Wards would run along Peter Destapleigh Way.

8.2. If the BC accepts the Council’s proposals to include Stapeley Rural and Batherton in Wybunbury Ward, and the relocation of Wychwood Village from Wybunbury to Haslington Ward (see paragraph 8.5, below), there would be a neutral effect on the electorate figure for Wybunbury, which remains at 3765, giving excellent electoral quality. However, it does result in the loss of the 322 electors in Stapeley Rural and Batherton from Nantwich South Ward, thereby creating the need to review the boundary line between Nantwich South Ward and Nantwich North & West Ward, in order to achieve a reasonable electoral balance between these two Wards. The revised boundary could run along Beam Street and Millstone Lane (rather than South Crofts) both of which are main roads, providing a strong boundary line in the town centre. This would result in electorates of 6726 in Nantwich South and 6272 in Nantwich North & West, only just in line with the electoral equality tolerance.

8.3. However, better electoral equality would be achieved if an alternative boundary were to be drawn around the residential area bounded by St Lawrence Court and South Crofts (area “A” marked on Map 6 attached). This would result in 6467 electors in Nantwich South and 6531 electors in Nantwich North & West, both clearly within the tolerance and giving a good balance between the two Wards.

8.4. The Council is pleased that the BC has accepted that the whole of the gated community of Wychwood Park should be in Wybunbury Ward. Over two thirds of the housing has been part of Chorlton (which forms with Hough a first class Parish Council) since it was built and it makes total sense that the remaining two small enclaves should be included in the Ward. Furthermore, the inclusion of the Hotel and the Golf Course gives Hough and Chorlton Parish the basis of some infrastructure which it has been sorely missing to date. Wychwood Park is included in the Nantwich Area Partnership and is policed from Nantwich as is the rest of the Wybunbury Ward.

8.5. The Council contends that Wychwood Village, which is normal housing development unlike the very different, gated, Wychwood Park community, should remain part of Weston Village and hence in the recommended Haslington Ward. Wychwood Village which is still under construction has since its inception had a close affinity with Weston and has been totally within Weston’s parish boundaries. It is close to Englesea Brook (part of Weston’s bailiwick) and is most definitely a separate community to the self-contained Wychwood Park. Wychwood Village has its own amenities which are important to Weston: a golf course and a major community centre. The latter is vitally significant to Weston as it has only a very small and dilapidated facility of its own. Wychwood Village is included in the Crewe Local Area Partnership and is policed from Crewe as is the rest of the Haslington Ward. Accordingly, the revised boundary between the Wybunbury and Haslington Wards in this area would follow the A531 Newcastle Road rather than along Snape Lane and across country, as shown on Map 7.

8.6. The inclusion of Wychwood Village with Haslington would mean that the Ward electorate would increase by 322. Taken with the minor boundary adjustment proposed in paragraph 9.2 below (82 electors), the Haslington electorate would total 7017, giving excellent electoral equality in this 2-Member Ward.


9.1. Both Cheshire East Council and Haslington Parish Council are strongly in favour of the whole of Wheelock Heath and Winterley being included in the Haslington Ward and not in Sandbach. Paragraph 121 of the Draft Recommendations incorrectly attributes the contrary view to the Parish Council. Since the opening of the Haslington/Wheelock Bypasses, the natural division of Haslington and the Wheelock area of Sandbach is, without doubt, the Bypass roundabout at the end of the village. The current arrangement is an unnatural division of the Community which has traditionally looked towards Haslington for its focus and identity as it is isolated from Wheelock/Sandbach.

9.2. The entire area north of the Holly Bush Inn, up to the Haslington/Wheelock Bypasses, shares a common settlement boundary and has strong Community links with the rest of the Haslington Ward. Examples of this include common education provision and the use of local facilities, including shops and public houses. Residents in this area also tend to contact Haslington Parish Council should they have any concerns, for example on planning matters. Everyone, both residents and visitors, regard this area as logically being within the Haslington Ward and there is now the opportunity to correct this anomaly of the Community being unnaturally divided. Accordingly, the BC’s proposal is endorsed by this Council, subject to a minor adjustment to the proposed boundary line north of Elton Lane, so that the boundary runs along Crewe Road, as shown on Map 8 attached. This would include a further 82 electors in the Haslington Ward and leaves Sandbach Ettiley Heath & Wheelock Ward with 3404 electors, which continues to represent good electoral quality.

9.3. The Council also proposes an adjustment to the boundary line between Sandbach Town Ward and the Sandbach Elworth Ward. The Sandbach Town Ward’s boundary line on Middlewich Road needs a slight adjustment to move the line closer to the Elworth village sign [‘Elworth’] on Middlewich Road, which is located on the footway in front of house number 206, just past Grange Way, heading towards Middlewich. However, to relocate the boundary line to just beyond Grange Way would probably be difficult to achieve, as it would result in the division of houses on the estates/developments off Grange Way. Consequently, it is proposed that the boundary line is relocated to align with, and to incorporate, Rowan Close, off Middlewich Road, as shown on Map 9. It should be noted that Elworth Village does not have a boundary, it is considered to be a locality and also only about 24 houses would be affected by this proposed adjustment.


10.1. The Council proposes that the Lyme Green area (PD 4CC1) should not be part of the Sutton Ward, as recommended by the BC, but that it should be in the proposed Macclesfield Moss Ward. There is no green space between Lyme Green and Macclesfield. The entry road signs for Macclesfield Town and the former Macclesfield Highways Depot are located in Lyme Green and the Lyme Green Business Park is adjacent within the Town. People in Lyme Green fulfill their hospital, social and spiritual needs in Macclesfield and children from the town attend the Nursery School in Lyme Green. The Lyme Green ex-service Settlement provides valued community facilities for Macclesfield residents. The PD has been located in the existing Macclesfield South Ward since 1999 and, therefore, the ties between Lyme Green and the urban approaches to Macclesfield are much stronger than to the predominantly rural Sutton area. The proposed new boundary between Macclesfield Moss and Sutton Wards is shown on Map 10.

10.2. The proposal would also improve electoral equality, particularly if Kettleshulme is included in Sutton (as recommended in paragraph 5.5, above), given that Sutton is currently +3% without Kettleshulme, and Macclesfield Moss is -7%. If the 552 electors in Lyme Green were added to Macclesfield Moss (6540), this would result in a Ward of 7092 electors. The effect of these changes would result in good electoral equality of -4% for Sutton Ward and +1% for Macclesfield Moss.

10.3. The Council also submits that the proposed Ward name of Macclesfield Moss is not appropriate, as the “Moss” concerns only one part of the area, which also includes “Ryles” and “Ivy” within its boundaries. The Council proposes the Ward name “Macclesfield South”, which is more representative of the character of the area, was the name of the former Macclesfield Borough Ward and will be more readily understood by local communities.

10.4. The Council recommends that the Broken Cross and Upton Priory Ward should be named simply “Broken Cross and Upton”. Upton is the more historical name for this area, (it may have been an historical parish), which extends well beyond the Upton Priory housing estate.

10.5. It is also proposed that Macclesfield Weston and Ivy Ward should be named Macclesfield West and Ivy, as Weston is a housing estate which is only one feature of a much wider area.


11.1. The Council proposes that the Brereton Ward should be named “Brereton Rural” Ward, which better reflects the diverse rural nature of the area and the fact that it covers a number of other parish communities.

11.2. The Council would also wish to reaffirm its previous submission that the Holmes Chapel Ward should be named “Dane Valley” Ward, which better reflects the fact that the Ward includes three other Parish Councils in addition to Holmes Chapel. A generic, but well-recognised, local name, such as Dane Valley, would be more representative of these collective but distinct Parish areas.


12.1. As previously indicated, the Council is minded broadly to support the majority of the BC’s proposals for the Cheshire East area. However, the Council is of the view that the arrangements can be improved in the areas covered by these further representations, by more effectively reflecting local community identities and, in many instances, improving electoral equality. The Council’s proposals would result in eight 3-Member Wards; fifteen 2-Member Wards; and twenty-eight Single-Member Wards (in this case, the same number as the BC’s own recommendations) - 51 Wards in total. Even in the case of multi-member Wards, these proposals do not depart significantly from the BC’s scheme, as summarised in paragraph 2.1, above.

12.2. Appendix A summarises the electorate information (2008 and 2013 figures) and the impact on electoral equality for each Ward relating to the Council’s proposals.. Appendix B provides more detailed electorate and Polling District information for the Wards concerned. Also attached are the Maps which illustrate the Council’s proposals, as follows:

1. Wilmslow Dean Row and Handforth
2. Poynton Area
3. Crewe Leighton and St. Barnabas
4 Crewe South Western Area
5. Willaston, Rope and Wistaston
6. Nantwich
7. Haslington – Wychwood Village
8. Haslington – Wheelock Heath and Winterley
9. Sandbach Town and Elworth Wards Boundary
10. Macclesfield Lyme Green

Friday 12 February 2010

Private Fostering Campaign launched

A major campaign is being launched in Cheshire East to increase awareness of ‘Private Fostering’.

Carers, parents and workers in the health and education sectors in Cheshire are being urged to help Cheshire East Council ensure the safety and well-being of children and young people. They are asked to let the Council know about any children who are being cared for by someone who is not a close relative.

The promotion is linked to a national campaign called ‘Somebody Else's Child’, which is run by the British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF), and aims to raise awareness of private fostering. The campaign runs from February 22 to 28.

Private fostering is when a child under 16 (if disabled, under 18) is looked after for more than 28 days by an adult who is not a close relative and by private arrangement between parent and carer. Close relatives are parents, step-parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, brothers or sisters.

It is estimated there are 10,000 children in England and Wales who are not living with a direct relative. Children and Families Services have a legal requirement to ensure these children’s welfare is being safeguarded and to check on the suitability of the adults looking after them.

If you are privately fostering or your child is privately fostered for 28 days or more, you should let the Children and Families Service know immediately by contacting 01625 374700. Failure to do so is not only an offence but could put the child’s safety at risk. People who are private fostering can receive advice and support, and if you have not notified your local authority, you could be missing out.

More information can be found on the Cheshire East Council website at or by going to

Cabinet member with responsibility for the Welfare of Children and Families, Councillor Paul Findlow said: “Fostering, whether privately carried out or through a local authority serves a vital service within a community and without foster carers, many children and young people would never experience the benefit of a stable family environment.

“Their welfare, however, is our priority and is why Cheshire East Council needs to know where children and young people are living and with whom. This is not so we can come along with a big stick and lots of regulations, but because we want to help and be able to provide help and advice when needed.”

Second Bridge Fit For Queens

The wall around Burma island has been built for most of this week

The second landmark bridge is to be installed at the historic Victorian, Queens Park, in Crewe next week.

The bridge is 14.5 metres long and is supported by tubular steel with timber beams, decking walkway and handrails.

Last month the very first bridge, Tipkinder, was installed to a fanfare of media and public attention and Coronation Bridge is promised to be even more impressive.

The media are invited to witness this historic installation on Wednesday, February 17 from 12 noon. The installation is expected to last throughout the afternoon. Please come to the Tipkinder entrance off Queens Park Drive.

Members of the public are also being encouraged to come along and witness history before their eyes. For those who want to get a close-up view please call the park manager, Elaine Dodd, on 01270 537896 so she can arrange a public viewing area.

To allow these extensive works to be carried out, around two thirds of the park have been closed off to the public, but it’s hoped that three quarters of the park will have been re-opened by the end of the year.
Other works in the pipeline include a planning application for replacement buildings, the largest of which is the new pavilion to replace the Jubilee Cafeteria built in the 1970s.

Modern in design, it will be made out of sandstone and glass to give customers impressive views over the park’s grand grounds.

Planning permission for a new bowling pavilion is currently under-way and designers are in talks with the Queens Park Bowling Club to get the best facility possible. Both buildings will have newly refurbished public toilets.

Derek Morgan, Chairman of the Friends of Queens Park Group, said, “Things will start to move very quickly during the Spring and Summer months. People will start to see a real difference as the Park is brought back to its former glory”.

The East and West lodges will also be improved and up-dated and there are plans for a “Memorabilia Lounge” at the West lodge.

Councillor Roy Cartlidge, of the Crewe West Ward, who has supported the project throughout, added, “The installation of the main bridges will be a significant part of the Park’s history and are intended to last the next hundred years and beyond. “

Tories promise new laws to evict illegal travellers

Travellers who occupy land illegally will be evicted under laws proposed today by the Conservatives.
David Cameron wants to clamp down on legal loopholes that allow travellers to exploit the planning system.
A new criminal offence of intentional trespass would be created, which would be enforced by the police.
Tension: David Cameron has pledged to crack down on illegal traveller sites, which infuriate local residents
The idea is to prevent landowners being forced to go through protracted legal battles in the civil courts to evict travellers.
The right to claim special treatment under the Human Rights Act would be curtailed because the Tories would replace the contentious law with a Bill of Rights.
Planning rules which compel councils to build sites for travellers on Green Belt land would also be scrapped by the Tories.
They plan to end the compulsory purchase of homeowners' land to enable councils to fulfil their quotas for building traveller sites.
The ability to apply for retrospective planning permission would be ended to stop travellers laying concrete on land over weekends, then putting in planning applications.
Planning officers are unable to evict them while a planning application is pending.
Bob Neill, Tory spokesman for local government and planning, contrasted the difficulties homeowners have in obtaining planning permission to build on rural land with the special treatment given to travellers.
'The British public want to see fair play for all, rather than special treatment being given to some,' he said. 'Labour's changes have undermined community cohesion by creating a legitimate sense of injustice in the planning system.
'Law-abiding citizens understandably have to jump through many hoops to build in rural areas. It's wrong that certain groups have been given a green light to bypass those rules and concrete over the Green Belt when no one's looking.'
The Conservatives are confident that there would not be appeals to the European Court of Human Rights against the new Bill of Rights as Ireland has already introduced similar clampdowns on traveller sites.
They claim that the Human Rights Act, introduced by Labour in 2000, has given travellers the green light to develop camps at will, fuelling community tensions.
Travellers often buy farmland, which is cheaper than land zoned for building, and put illegal encampments on it. They can claim that removing them would be discrimination.
Since the Act was brought in, there has been a four-fold increase in illegal sites being built on traveller-owned land.
Communities Secretary John Denham rejected the Tory criticism, saying: 'There are already tough measures in place for local authorities to use where development takes place without planning permission. Most complaints come from areas where councils have failed to use them.'

Thursday 11 February 2010

A View to the Future

Cheshire East residents are being encouraged to “have their say” on the big issues in their communities.

Their valued views will be included in one of the most influential planning documents in the area, the Community Strategy, which shapes the future for the next fifteen years.

To help members of the public contribute to this consultation, which is being carried out by Cheshire East Council and its partner agencies (see below for the full list) a number of events are taking place in February and March and there is also an opportunity to get involved online.

Councillor David Brown, cabinet member for performance and capacity, said: “We want views about hospitals, schools, transport, libraries, planning and any other services in the public domain that affect people’s lives on a regular basis.

“The aim of this consultation with the people of Cheshire East is to ensure that we are planning ahead in ways which meet the needs of the people living here right now.

“We hope the views will give us a valuable insight in to how life is now for people and how we can, together, shape our communities for a better future.”

For those members of the public who are interested in attending one of the special events organised by Cheshire East Council - where they can meet council officers and have their say - all they need to do is book a place by calling 01270 685808 or emailing

The events are taking place in the following areas on these dates;

• Knutsford – Tuesday, February 23
• Macclesfield, Wednesday, February 24
• Nantwich, Thursday, February 25
• Crewe, Tuesday, March 2
• Congleton, Thursday, March 4

Members of the public can contribute to the discussion paper at local council offices or alternatively from the council’s website – – where the public can submit their views online.

Ensuring Consumers Get a fair Deal

11 February 2010

Cheshire East Council’s Consumer Protection and Investigations Service (Trading Standards) works in partnership with Consumer Direct to deliver consumer advice.
Consumer Direct is the government-funded telephone and online service offering information and advice on consumer issues.
It is funded by the Office of Fair Trading and delivered in partnership with Local Authority Trading Standards Services.
When calling Cheshire East Council’s Trading Standards Service your call will divert to Consumer Direct so that they can give you clear, practical, impartial advice to help you sort out problems and disagreements you may be having with suppliers of goods or services.
This arrangement allows Cheshire East residents, to get advice on how to tackle problems and allows Trading Standards to deal with more complex issues, often from the information which has been received via Consumer Direct.
Cheshire East Council Deputy Leader, Cllr. Brian Silvester said:
“The role of Trading Standards is to empower and inform consumers, encourage honest business and target rogue traders and rogue trading practices.
“In many cases, Consumer Direct will be able to address concerns from Cheshire East residents immediately but, when direct intervention on your behalf or face-to-face advice may be required, your case may be referred to Cheshire East Trading Standards Service or another organisation that can assist. The Council is working hard to ensure that all residents and visitors get a fair deal when they purchase goods and services in Cheshire East.”
Consumer Direct will:
• Provide pre-shopping advice before you buy goods or services.
• Explain your consumer rights.
• Advise you if you have a problem or disagreement with a trader.
• Help you make a complaint about a trader that you believe has done something wrong (although they will not complain on your behalf).
• Provide general advice on how to avoid unscrupulous traders or "cowboys".
• Explain consumer-related issues such as warranties, buying on credit, internet shopping, refunds and replacements etc.
• Provide advice on avoiding trading scams and rip-offs.
• Direct you to a regulator or other organisation if it is better suited to assist you.
• Refer your case to your local authority Trading Standards Services or similar agency if they are better suited to assist you.
The advice and information Consumer Direct give is free and you can call as many times as you need to.
Calls to the Consumer Direct 0845 numbers are charged at no more than four pence per minute from a BT landline and may be free depending on your call plan. Call charges from other landline providers or mobile phones may vary. Please check the rate with your phone service provider.
Members of the public wanting to report any loan shark activities in confidence should ring the Illegal Money Lending team on 0300 555 2222. One possible lifeline for those struggling against debt is the Cheshire Neighbours Credit Union, a non-profit making organisation with ethical values and affordable interest rates capped by Government legislation at 2%. Telephone 01270 586217 or visit for further details.
• Consumer Direct is available on a single national telephone number - 08454 04 05 06 - from 0800 – 1830 Monday to Friday, and 0900 – 1300 Saturday, excluding bank holidays and public holidays.
• Advice is available on the website at all times:
• A Welsh-speaking Consumer Direct service is available on 08454 04 05 05.
• Minicom or Typetalk users can contact Consumer Direct for Consumer Issues using Minicom or typetalk services, if the issue is regarding Energy or post only the typetalk service is available.
• Minicom users can call 08451 28 13 84 to access this service.
• To use TypeTalk, simply dial the prefix 18001 before dialling your chosen Consumer Direct number.
• Postal Complaints can be sent to: Consumer Direct, P.O Box 833, Moulton Park, Northampton, NN3 0AN.

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Jeremy Hall and Eye construction

10 February 2010
The 11th Annual Cheshire Built in Quality Awards took place last Friday evening (February 5), with success for projects in Cheshire East.
The awards were handed out to those who have constructed new buildings that are regarded to be of a particularly high standard.
They recognise the work of contractors, agents and architects.
There were seven major category winners with one supreme winner who will now go forward to the regional and possibly national award.
A host of companies received awards on the night for their work in Cheshire East.
MH Stainton Building Contractors won Best Domestic Extension for their work on East Court, Beechfield Road in Alderley Edge.
Eyes Construction won Best one-off house/conversion for Westray on Parkfield Road in Knutsford.
Middlewich-based Pochin’s PLC won the Best Architect/Agent for “HQ”, Nicholas Street in Chester.

A special award for Consistent Qualilty was handed to G B Building Solutions Ltd for Extra Care Village Developments for their work across Cheshire, including constructions on Rolls Avenue in Crewe and East Road in Middlewich.

Willmott Dixon won an award for the construction of Sir William Stanier Community School in Crewe.

Cheshire East Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity said:

“It was a great night for everyone concerned. We should all be very proud to be in an area where so many businesses are achieving such excellent status.

“Awards to celebrate the achievements of those in building industry are vital. It is a tough, competitive market for anyone in construction at the current time. This is much deserved recognition for our local construction companies.

“My congratulations go to M H Stainton, Eyes Construction and all the winners from across Cheshire for their success. I look forward to seeing what further achievements can be made in the next 12 months.”
The winners are as follows:
Best Domestic Extension

M H Stainton for East Court, Beechfield Road, Alderley Edge

Best one off House/Conversion

Eyes Construction for Westray, Parkfield Road, Knutsford

Best Housing/Residential Project

Countryside Properties Ltd for Carrington Park, Battersby Lane, Warrington

Best Public/Community Project

Willmott Dixon for Sir Willam Stanier High School, Coppenhall

Best Commercial Project

Eric Wright Construction Ltd for United Utilities, Lingley Mere, Gt. Sankey

Best Project for Accessibility

N Stones Builders Ltd for Trinco, 8 Sandy Lane, Little Neston

Best Architect/Agent
Pochin’s PLC (based in Middlewich) for “HQ”, Nicholas Street, Chester

Supreme Cheshire Winner

Pochin’s PLC for “HQ”, Nicholas Street, Chester.

Special Award for Consistent Quality

G B Building Solutions Ltd for Extra Care Village Developments across Cheshire.