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Sunday 31 May 2015

Beat Meetings

Local Officers and PCSO's hold regular beat meetings to allow residents to discuss local issues. Our Meetings for June are below:

Shavington Village Hall, Main Rd, Shavington, Crewe, CW2 5DU-  3rd June 2015 at 7.15pm. Location
Leighton Academy, Minshull New Road, CW1 3PP, Wednesday 10th June 1230-1400hrs
Mablins Lane Primary School, Mablins Lane, Crewe, CW1 3YR Thursday 11th June 2015 0915-1030hrs
The Cheshire Academy of Integrated Sports and Arts, Broad Street Crewe, CW1 3UD held at 1130-1300hrs on: Friday 12/06/2015 
The Bungalow, Sherbourne Road, Crewe- Every Monday between 2-4pm
West Lodge Queens Park CW2 7SE- Sunday 7th June at 2-3pm
Tesco Extra, Vernon Way, Crewe, Saturday  20th June 3-4 pm
Thouroughgoods, Manor Way, Crewe, 06/06/2015 and 27/06/2015     1500 – 1600 hours     
Belong Village, Brookhouse Drive, Crewe, CW2 20/06/2015  1300 – 1500 hours      6NA.
Yoxhall Village Hall Crewe Road, Haslington Monday 1st June 2015 at 7.30pm.

Blue Badges should be automatic for over-85s, says Cheshire East

Cheshire East Council is pioneering a change in the law so that all people aged 85 and over will automatically qualify for the Blue Badge disabled persons’ parking scheme.

Blue Badges enable people with severe mobility problems to park closer to their destination and can be used by disabled people travelling as a driver or as a passenger. 

Giving Blue Badges to people automatically when they reach 85 is one of a raft of policies which the Council wants to introduce in order to combat social isolation and assist people to live longer, healthier lives while remaining independent.

The Council is writing to Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, asking him to make the necessary legislative changes to the scheme.

Only 4,202 out of Cheshire East’s 10,400 over-85s currently have a Blue Badge, so automatic qualification could benefit more than 6,000 people.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Supporting people to be independent and live well for longer is really important to us as a Council that puts residents first. 

“Removing the hassle of having to prove eligibility for a Blue Badge will help the over-85s to lead more active lives.

“They may want to go on social visits or do their own shopping and have a carer to drive them around, but if they can’t park close to where they are going, they may lack the confidence to get out and about.

“This is not a big gesture, it’s just common sense that we should help people to be as mobile as possible and take part in society.

“As a Council, we aim to fix the causes of problems, not just treat the symptoms. So it’s right that we should tackle social isolation head on and remove this barrier that stops people enjoying the quality of life they deserve.

“I think we are the first council to look at doing this. We’re certainly the first to write to the government about it.”

Councillor Jones said he would also like to see changes in the way disability is defined, so that people with agoraphobia and other mental health conditions can qualify for the disabled persons’ parking scheme.

Blue Badge holders can park free for any length of time on streets with restrictions and on yellow lines for up to three hours, unless a loading ban is in place.

Alongside its desire to enable more people to benefit, Cheshire East remains vigilant about possible fraud and is tough on selfish, anti-social people who abuse the scheme.

Last November, the Council prosecuted a 73-year-old Macclesfield man who had fraudulently used a dead disabled   person’s Blue Badge to avoid paying parking fees. Magistrates ordered him to pay £675 in fines and costs.

Anyone who suspects an individual is misusing a Blue Badge intended for a disabled person can ring a confidential freephone hotline 0800 389 2787. All calls are treated in strictest confidence.

Man who claimed benefits while working ends up worse off

A man is facing a bill for £7,800 after he carried on claiming benefits for two years despite finding work.

Gary Hockenhull, 41, of Windsor Close, Middlewich, received £7,205.54 in Housing Benefit and Council Tax support that he was not entitled to.

When he began claiming, Hockenhull said he was out of work and that his family was on a low income. But when he found a job in November 2011, he failed to tell the authorities.

He falsely claimed benefits whilst working for more than two years until investigators from Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud team discovered that he had started work and that his household income had increased.

Hockenhull admitted two charges of failing to promptly report a change in his circumstances that he knew would affect his entitlement.

At South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, May 27, he was sentenced to a two-month curfew between the hours of 8.00pm and 6.00am. Magistrates ordered him to pay £600 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Hockenhull will also have to repay in full all the benefits that he fraudulently received.

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

Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for communities, said: “It is a big mistake for fraudsters to think they can get away with claiming benefits they are not entitled to.

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

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

Residents can report people they suspect of benefit fraud by calling free on the confidential fraud hotline number 0800 389 2787. There is no need to give a name and calls are treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, suspected fraud can be reported through the Council’s website at

Thursday 28 May 2015

Cheshire East backs Willaston to create a neighbourhood plan

Cheshire East Council is backing Willaston’s efforts to prevent unsustainable and unplanned development.

The Council Leader, Councillor Michael Jones, has agreed to designate the parish as the area that will be covered by the Willaston Neighbourhood Plan.

Neighbourhood plans enable local people to have a say in the development they would like to see in the area where they live.

Willaston Parish Council, which covers a largely rural area with a population of 2,277 situated in the green gap between Crewe and Nantwich, applied for the designation in March.

Once completed, the plan will be adopted by Cheshire East Borough Council and form part of the development plan for the Borough.

The policies in the Willaston Neighbourhood Plan will be used for decision making purposes when planning applications are determined.

Councillor Jones said: “Neighbourhood plans enable residents to develop policies to address those planning matters that affect their interests and well being.

“They allow communities to take ownership of planning policy which directly affects their lives.

“Neighbourhood plans are a key part of putting residents first, one of the Council’s most important priorities, and we fully support communities in putting them in place.”

More than 20 Neighbourhood Plan areas have been designated in Cheshire East.  Two have lodged applications for designation and 30 more parishes have expressed an interest.

Michael Jones reappointed as Council Leader – as new-look Cabinet is unveiled

Councillor Michael Jones has been reconfirmed as the Leader of Cheshire East Council.

The Conservative, who represents Bunbury Ward, was formally elected to the post at a meeting of Full Council today (Wednesday, May 27).

Cllr Jones, who is also the leader of the Conservative Group and Chairman of the Cabinet, has led Cheshire East Council since May, 2012.

He unveiled a new-look Cabinet team, which followed members David Topping and Peter Raynes standing down as Borough councillors and the election of new Conservative members to the authority.

Cllr Jones said: “I am honoured and very proud to have maintained the confidence of not only my party group and the elected council members, but also the people of Cheshire East. It is a privilege to be re-elected to lead Cheshire East Council.

“Cheshire East is in a very good position with a record low-level of unemployment, a strong and growing economy, new businesses establishing in the Borough and massive investment projects under way for roads, infrastructure and the regeneration and revitalisation of our major towns. Things are really on the move in Cheshire East.

“But there is still much to do and this Council will not rest on its laurels or allow for any complacency.

“My Cabinet is essentially the same strong, capable and committed team – but with some talented new recruits, which I have great confidence will continue to deliver for residents.

“The Cabinet is a highly experienced and talented team which has matured into an effective group, who know each other and work well together.

“This is essential for meeting the significant challenges and opportunities ahead – and maintain our commitment to putting residents first and delivering value for money for the people of Cheshire East.

“We face some tough challenges ahead, but I am very confident that by continuing to work hard and be innovative in the way we operate we can achieve great things for our residents.

“We look forward to performing effectively and ensuring that Cheshire East remains as Best in the North West and a superb place to live, work, visit and do business.”

The Cabinet members are:
Cllr Michael Jones, Council Leader, Chairman of the Cabinet;
Cllr David Brown, Deputy Leader, responsible for Highways;
Cllr Ainsley Arnold, responsible for Housing and Planning;
Cllr Rachel Bailey, responsible for Children and Families;
Cllr Janet Clowes, responsible for Adults, Health and Leisure;
Cllr Paul Findlow, responsible for Performance;
Cllr Les Gilbert, responsible for Communities;
Cllr Peter Groves, responsible for Finance and Assets;
Cllr Don Stockton, responsible for Regeneration and Assets.
Deputy Cabinet members are: Cllr George Hayes – Children and Families; Cllr Stewart Gardiner – Adults, Health and Leisure; Cllr Glen Williams – Communities; Cllr Sam Gardner – Finance and Assets; Cllr Tony Dean – Regeneration and Assets.

Cheshire East Highways supports rural grass cutting campaign

Cheshire East Highways has signed up to support a national campaign that advocates careful management of rural grass verges to benefit wildlife conservation.
The Plantlife road verge campaign, fronted by TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh, recognises that grass verges on rural roads provide a rich habitat for vast amounts of wildlife.
The campaign aims to ensure that road verges are managed for wildlife whilst being safe for motorists. It recommends that rural road verges are only cut more than once a year if this is required for road safety.
Cheshire East’s grass cutting programme, which started in May and continues until the end of June, supports the principles of the campaign.
Rural verges in Cheshire East are also cut in a single 1.2 metre wide swathe from the roadside, allowing for grass at the back of the verge to be retained for wildlife.
Requests for rural verges not to be cut for conservation purposes are also carefully considered on a case-by-case basis. Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are also sensitively managed.
Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This approach to grass cutting ensures that rural verges do not create a road safety hazard and that they can thrive with diverse and interesting wildlife.”
Further information on ‘Alan’s Army’ and the rural verge campaign can be found at

Leader’s address to Full Council today.

Cheshire East Council

A new way

Madam mayor, honoured guests and members.

Let me congratulate you madam mayor on your election to mayor and may I also congratulate all the winners and commiserate to all the losers in the recent Cheshire east election. It was an exciting election night and Friday afternoon. I think it is fair to say my party are more than satisfied with the result, which offers a dimension that I believe this council must take.

We must now grasp the opportunity to work across boundaries to ask for greater devolvement to deliver greater prosperity across Cheshire and North Staffordshire. My hand of friendship is held out to work with all partners across boundaries to deliver for not just Cheshire East but beyond, as I think we can. This could see billions of funding brought to the people of Cheshire and beyond. This is localism first, smaller government and an end to faceless agents in central government making decisions for us.

Since I became leader in 2012 my cabinet and I have led the council in a new direction and my party and I are proud of our many successes.

It is time now for us to charter a new way, learning from the lessons of the last four years and to deliver more for residents, to be a better and stronger council. Today we set our goal to deliver more for all in our communities, whilst aiming to be one of the best unitary councils in the country. We shall deliver renewal in our town centres and today I say my cabinet and I are confident of new town centre schemes in Macclesfield, Crewe, Nantwich and  Knutsford.

A lot has been learnt from my first three years and here are some of the lessons we have learnt.

Firstly, let me say that it is a privilege to represent the great people of the Bunbury ward and all the residents of Cheshire East. We thank everyone who voted and especially those who voted Conservative.

Secondly, we have learnt that there is a clear role for Cheshire East Council but that it must be focused more on delivery and less bureaucracy, more emancipating of residents, more localism and more facilitating of community services. We are a powerful voice for our communities and we must listen more. My cabinet and I believe in resident first, all residents first and foremost. This council must listen more and be seen to listen to all our residents. Communication is the key and we will improve this.

Thirdly, and I make this very clear, the staff are fantastic. They work very hard, long hours, they care and overall they deliver. They know they have done much better and we have many successes to report but they also know we can be better and in certain areas must do better and today I tell you that they will be doing better, that is why my cabinet and I have ordered the CEO to undertake a rapid review of the senior management and a commissioning review, residents have demands rightly, and they must be met. Staff  have aspirations and they must also be met.

We say a humble thank you to the many staff who have delivered brilliantly for us in the past three years. There are too many to thank or we would be here all day. But they have made us the best place to live and work in the North West.  I also say publicly today that I appreciate the loyalty of our staff, often approached with offers of substantial pay rises and yes we do pay below market rate, but they stay, why ? because of what they are achieving in Cheshire East and the environment they are thriving in.

Fourthly, we have seen, through our arms length companies that we can empower our staff to deliver and I am proud on how each and every arms length company has performed but I want to deliver more and so today we announce there will be more.  A new arms length organisation will be focused on skills and training, including delivering to our most needy the opportunity to work. We will bring live our energy company and others will be looked at as we develop the commissioning review. The model works well so we should expand it.

Fifthly, we must also empower our communities and especially our army of thousands of volunteers and faith groups. They are the often hidden heroes of Cheshire, that is why I admire the British Empire Medal service, where these volunteers are rewarded, I am often humbled by the efforts each recipient has made.
So today we announce that we will further empower our community hubs and they will be centres that deliver for those in need, the vulnerable and the  weak. We promise that my cabinet and I will make lives of the vulnerable better through these community hubs and there spokes. We want to free up these hubs to be facilitated to deliver our services and others to the most needed and to all young adults. We will look to franchise the delivery of our services with the providers telling us how to deliver and where. These must be locally led and locally driven.

Finally, the most significant lesson we have learnt is that local government and central government is a process laden management experience. Process is necessary, even essential but not at the price of agility or delivery. We must be legal at all times but NEVER process for process sake. Too often innovation and delivery are sacrificed on the altar of process, we are often too slow and too expensive. Legal first and foremost but all processes must be reviewed including our clumsy constitution and non agile procurement. This also where we can make savings as process is often wastage. We need to allow drive and enthusiasm to flow, not to be suppressed and dampened by process.

I relish the opportunity for smaller central government and a greater involvement in decision making at a local level. I believe we in Cheshire know what is best for Cheshire and that we should have the resources and power to determine where our money goes locally. That is why I shall be meeting with Pan Cheshire colleagues to determine whether we can achieve a “devo-max” type deal for Cheshire.

My cabinet and I call upon the senior management to cut red tape, get out and visit more members of the public and spend more time in the community and less time in meetings. If you are in meetings, lets ensure that the meeting is delivering for residents ? We should ask first and foremost are we delivering for residents.  Reporting is a key part of management but so is challenging. We do not challenge enough within the council so today I say to be the best we must challenge each other more and have open debate about delivery. Strength through dialogue and never being frightened to say we can do it better.

As I have stated, local government should be more local and more delivery driven, more in the community and less in council offices. This change is inevitable as is our increasing of transparency and openness. We will move this agenda forward from the lessons learnt.

So as to the new way.

As with dawn of a new Council the rising dawn of opportunity means we must enjoy the sun light and pass the energy forward with the vigour of the early morning. To be clear my cabinet and I will meet immediately to review the direction of the Council and we will shift it permanently in the direction of the people. We will move fast and with purpose. We have spent many hours listening on the door step and residents should know we have heard. As already stated, my cabinet and I will also be investigating greater devolvement from the centre to Cheshire, working with Cheshire West and Warrington. This is a new exciting dimension but today I call for a Cheshire deal, without boundary changes,  and I am pleased to say that dialogue is already under way.

We must also innovate and be brave. We must watch our bottom line but also invest in our residents. In February the Council agreed the most aggressive capital programme and to pay for this we must match this with the largest asset disposal programme of Council assets, so to this I want to bring in partners and today I announce, under the chairmanship of Cllr Jamie Macrae, Engine of the North will pursue joint ventures and partners to deliver the maximum value for our residents. I will also chair a task force on the other assets we own not included in Engine of the North to ensure a reduction in our foot print and revenue savings, whilst looking at all options for our assets.

We must use our knowledge to deliver our outcomes but we must also be innovative. As an example, we have challenging budget demands, especially from an ageing population. The council is committed to independent living, people living at home longer, we want less social isolation and certainly less people going into care. Yet we have made it harder for people to get disabled parking badges. So my cabinet and I  have tasked Steph Corden to review this and as to whether we can mandatory allow disabled badges to all drivers over 85 yrs of age, this will be a change in Government legislation and I have written to Patrick McLoughlin MP to ask for a change and also to park more easily in our towns

We also should make staying at home for care easier, supporting quicker discharge from hospital. We must strive to introduce protocols easier to support four  people and carers at home.

This will make us resident friendly, dementia friendly and of course support independent living. We will also look to define disability to include agoraphobia and other possible mental disabilities, that supported car parking would assist them in there lives.

So yes the new way is a cultural change, in a member led council, we will lead and when I look at the new members on all sides I relish the opportunity to work together cross party to deliver the council the people want and deserve.

As to the specifics of a new way.

Most importantly the budget. We have a strong financial platform but I believe all councils can further reduce waste and I believe that we are also, like so many councils still locked into out dated processes that cost millions and despite the best of intentions we do not deliver, as much as we can.  So I say, we as a Council can make further savings and we will. The cultural shift will be essential and we will pursue this strongly in meetings throughout the summer with our staff.

My cabinet and I will be giving the Head of paid service  and the chief operating officer new targets on savings, alongside there commissioning review so that we can spend our resources more on the front line and less on the support structures. We must spend more in the community and the commissioning review should deliver more local, resident listened and resident led services.

As we have stated, we must work with our communities and already, in the last three years we have seen  financial savings through our early intervention. What is clear is that we have seen human savings, many people looked after, families kept together, people in jobs and contributing and there is less fear in our communities and more road safety. We believe that we, as a council, should deal with the causes of our residents problems, we have and we will continue to address the symptoms but focus more on the causes. We will work with our partners, especially on Health, to delivery solutions to these causes.

At this point we should like to say a thank you to our police service. We have an excellent relationship and especially on safeguarding, we have a zero tolerance on Child Sexual Exploitation and they work with us to ensure any information or intelligence is passed between us, this is partnership in action. Children are safer in Cheshire East as a consequence. We will be producing a policy report on CSE and it is fitting that it should be called the Hoyland report after its former chairman, Philip Hoyland.

We are also clear that whilst we have strong story and we are proud that we lead the country on dealing with Youth offending, Domestic Violence, Fostering and our schools will be the best in the Country and we will have no more NEET's. 

However, there is a group who need us most, who we do not reach enough. They are young adults and teenagers. So today my cabinet and I instruct all officers  this Council to expand our relationships with young adults.  We should give the message  “ to all teenagers that have dark thoughts, to the bulimic and anorexic,  to the self harmer, to the bullied... that we care about you, this council cares desperately for you and we will listen to you”.  Any budget surplus will spent on this area for one off innovative programmes.

We want to see more counselling in schools and we want to reassure all children that there shape is fine, that there thoughts are fine and that they matter, more than they know and we say, Children are our greatest resource and we MUST listen to them.  That is why we will be pushing our schools to do more about mind well being, delivering the best teenagers academically but also rounded, ready to contribute to society and full fill there potential. We need them to be more ready for society and the challenges society brings. We will hold a conference on self harm and eating disorders in early 2016.

We must work with our schools and partners to create a “happy to discuss” culture. We must teach health and happy minds to all children,  which intern promotes healthy living. We already have a pilot running delivering this, (with excellent results),  in 12 primary schools, we will expand this pilot.

We will also look carefully at our procurement of the 0 – 19 school health provision and see how we can improve our partnerships before these services become the councils on October 1st.

I will also be looking to introduce local people to drive our communities and these will be piloted shortly, we will have community advisors to ensure our services are reaching those in need through the community hubs.

We must ensure that the local plan is delivered and also that our neighbourhood plans are delivered. Localism is not a fad it is what the people demand and they must be heard as part of the process. Neighbourhood plans have consultation and/or referendums and that is important. We like referendums and my cabinet and I will be looking to introduce more.

As to the Local Plan, it is clear that we got it wrong on our job growth. In the middle of a deep recession, 0.4% looked optimistic, but under my leadership, we have retained thousands of jobs, attracted growth and investment and after all Cheshire East is the home of the small business. They have created the lowest unemployment in more than a decade. We applaud the Cheshire entrepreneurs and we promise we will support them more. Our growth rate is 0.7%. we are the victims of our own success. Today I thank the good work of my former colleague Peter Raynes and I confirm that Cllr Rachel Bailey will be responsible for taking the Local Plan through to completion.

However, all planning and housing should be sustainable and we will continue to defend against unplanned and unwanted, unsustainable development. To this we have  requested our planning team to review all policies to increase development on brown field sites, infill in our hamlets, where supported,  and bring forward sites that have clear advantages to our residents and more 106 monies to reduce impact on our communities. We are also announcing that we will hold a series of consultations with residents and developers on our policies to make them resident first as much as possible. These will be under taken through out June and yes, the plan is on time.

My cabinet and I want us to be the safest council and today we say we must address road safety with a broad ranging consultation on road speeds, traffic signs and yes we believe that we should have where possible 20 miles per hour outside all our schools, I say again where possible.  This must be supported by wide ranging speed reviews supported by local referendums on speeding, if needed.

We also want to look at creating drop off points at our schools to enable less of the chaotic parking that occurs outside too many schools today. This may need land but we will support those who have land to do it we will look, where we can, to introduce these drop off zones. Ending the blockages, around the primary and secondary schools that create chaos in morning and afternoons is common sense. Road safety is a priority of my council.

Cheshire is a special place to live, but we must be stronger, greener and healthier So we intend to bring forward a whole collective of policies to support independent life, mind well being and I hope to focus our public health resources on visible achievements. We will challenge all expenditure across the council and health will be important to every aspect of the Council.

We should develop technology, we want customer services to be smoother, I want a strong Cheshire East app and a digital service, not forgetting the rural isolated communities who cannot yet access faster technology. I also want assisted technologies to make life easier for all and from today all development should, through planning introduce broadband facilitating each house having connectivity to safeguard connecting into the future.

As to greener, we have helped more than a thousand people already reduce there energy bills by fairer power, but we must also be greener and my cabinet and I will propose to undertake energy from dry anaerobic and yes I want us to lead on Geothermal. I expect joint venture deals on both in the coming years. 

My cabinet and I am clear we must work with our partners, especially on Health and so from today I will be chairing the Health and Well-being board and yes we will look to help our partners to be all they can be.  We will be challenging our partners to deliver more, to work with our community hubs and also to deliver health cheaper and further to our residents.  I will build on the excellent work of my cabinet colleague but it is time to ask Central government for more.

Health and well being must be easy to access, quick to respond and fundamentally care about the person, not the paperwork. Our well trained staff and partners should be freed to do their job not get tied down with process and forms.

On regeneration, we will deliver on our work already started, we will deliver on our major town centres and also we will look into the process of concordats that serve the interest of our residents and also the process of ensuring the wealth of all of us. My cabinet and I believe that HS2 will happen and we will be looking at its delivery sooner, giving growth to Crewe, Middlewich and the rest of Cheshire and near neighbour Stoke.

Regeneration will occur in all our market towns and large cities, we will work with or town councils to get it right. 

So my cabinet and I will deliver transformation including the introduction of several arms length vehicles to deliver skills and job creation for all,  health and well-being and on our green energy ambitions.

I must say that our current companies have done remarkably well and we applaud all the members and officers concerned. They have been a great SUCCESS. As you know I am against outsourcing unless it works for the residents. I believe that we have got it right.
To our staff we say that we want to make your life easier and to encourage communication. We will introduce suggestion boxes in our key council locations. We will have more staff questionnaires and we will work with managers to end any vestiges of silo mentality.

Silos are the last bastion of the local government, they serve officers more than residents and certainly do not save money. We will strive to end the culture of silo thinking and encourage broader responsibility for our services “look not only at what you do but what you and the others around you are doing for the residents”.
The ultimate key is teamwork, the key word is together in all we do and it is a vocation of many to serve the public, we must embody this whilst giving our residents hope in their futures and hope in Cheshire East Council. We have the power to impact on the vulnerable, the low skilled, the unhealthy, teenagers and young adults and my cabinet and I believe we have had a positive impact already, but we can have more impact and we shall.

So colleagues and guests my Cabinet and I have begun to build a team of officers, who are becoming enthused to deliver and as their passion for  delivery and change grows then our delivery will become strong, unstoppable. I do expect a revised structure from the top as they align with this vision.

My Cabinet and I believe that as we look forward to the next four years we can see the future of this Council as a fore runner for other Councils, changed, innovative, pro-active and less reactive, thus saving money and improving all the lives of the great people of Cheshire East.

Today I say we have a new mantra. Let us together start to resolve the problems, let us intervene earlier and as a consequence have less symptoms to address.

To be Resident first and foremost, I now add, solving the causes of problems earlier, early intervention is not just for childrens and adults but all our resident facing services.

Council gives power to the people – reaching out to young and old

Caring for the old, the young and the vulnerable, creating skills and opportunity, cutting waste and bureaucracy while devolving power to the people – this was the pledge today from the leader of Cheshire East Council.
Addressing the first full meeting of the Council since the May 7 elections, Councillor Michael Jones announced a new arms-length organisation to focus on skills and training and new measures to protect troubled young people.
He said that community hubs would become the powerbase for meeting local needs, shifting control “permanently in the direction of the people”.
Localism and empowerment of communities would become a key priority together with an attack on waste and bureaucracy.
“Too often innovation and delivery are sacrificed on the altar of process,” he said, adding that more can be done to cut costs and red tape.
Setting out his vision for the next four years, Councillor Jones told councillors and senior officers that he wanted to see greater innovation and a council focused on protecting the most vulnerable and supporting the elderly and frail.
Young people will be supported into work with skills and training and those at risk of self-harm, low self-esteem and bullying will receive counselling and early intervention support.
Councillor Jones said his message to all troubled young people was: “We care about you, this council cares desperately for you and we will listen to you.”
He added: “Children are our greatest resource and we MUST listen to them.”
Urging schools to be more alert to troubled minds, he announced that the Council would host a conference on self-harm and eating disorders in 2016.
The Borough also faced an ageing demographic along with the costs and responsibilities that presented.
The Council was committed to independent living for older people, less social isolation, minimal residential and hospital care. But it wanted to change regulation by making blue badge parking automatic for over 85s and for agoraphobia and other mental health conditions to be included in definitions of disability.
He promised a range of policies to support independent life and mental well-being, while securing visible achievements from public health resources.
Putting residents first will continue to be the council’s mantra and main priority.
Like most local authorities, the Council faces financial challenges. Therefore it will continue its policy of disposing of assets for the benefit of taxpayers while identifying partnerships and joint ventures advantageous to the Borough’s prosperity and economic development.
Town centres including Macclesfield, Crewe, Nantwich and Knutsford would benefit from renewal schemes but on a much wider scale, the Council will reach out to neighbouring authorities of whatever political persuasion.
Councillor Jones said: “I relish the opportunity for smaller central government, a greater involvement in decision making at a local level.
“I believe we in Cheshire know what is best for Cheshire and that we should have the resources and power to determine where our money goes locally.
“That is why I shall be meeting with pan-Cheshire colleagues to determine whether we can achieve a ‘devo-max’ type deal for Cheshire.
“My hand of friendship is held out to all partners across boundaries to deliver for not just Cheshire East but beyond, as I think we can.
“This could see billions of funding brought to the people of Cheshire and beyond.
“This is localism first, smaller government and an end to faceless agents in central government making decisions for us.”
Councillor Jones added: “My cabinet and I will also be investigating greater devolvement from the centre of Cheshire, working with Cheshire West and Warrington.
“This is a new, exciting dimension but today I call for a Cheshire deal, without boundary changes, and I am pleased to say that dialogue is already underway.”

Councillor Hilda Gaddum sworn in as new Mayor of Cheshire East

Cheshire East Council’s new Mayor, Councillor Hilda Gaddum has been sworn in at a civic ceremony in the Tenants’ Hall at Tatton Park.
She is the seventh Mayor since the borough came into being in 2009.
Councillor Wesley Fitzgerald, the outgoing Mayor, handed over the ceremonial red robe and mayoral chain at the council’s annual meeting.
A former Macclesfield Borough councillor, Councillor Gaddum has been a Cheshire East councillor for the Sutton ward since the Borough’s inception.
She has appointed her daughter-in-law Jane as Mayoress.
Councillor Gaddum said: “I am absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to become the first citizen of Cheshire East and look forward to representing the borough and our residents at the many functions and events that will be taking place in the coming year. 
“Cheshire East is a wonderful place in which to live and it is an enormous privilege to be invited to serve as the borough’s new Mayor.”
Proposed by Councillor Jamie Macrae (Mobberley), the new Mayor was the first chairman of the Strategic Planning Board and later Cabinet member with responsibility for children and family services.
Councillor Gaddum is also a Council representative on the board of governors of the King’s School, Macclesfield and has held the Borough’s seat on the Peak District National Park Authority.
After taking the oath of office and signing the declaration of acceptance, she presented Councillor Fitzgerald with the past Mayor’s medal then went on to chair her first meeting of the Council, at which the new cabinet and portfolio holders were announced following the May 7 elections.
She also paid tribute to Councillor Fitzgerald for his outstanding service to the borough during his period of office.
Councillor Olivia Hunter (High Legh) was sworn in as Deputy Mayor.
Tributes were paid to her and Councillor Fitzgerald by the Leader of Cheshire East Council, Councillor Michael Jones, and other members of the Council.
Councillor Gaddum was born in Sunderland, the daughter of a clergyman, and has been a poppy seller for 40 years.
Her parents moved to Disley, where she met her late husband Anthony, a well-known Macclesfield silk merchant. Her three grown-up sons were present at today’s mayor-making ceremony at Tatton together with their families.
The Mayor’s charities during her year of office will be Carers Trust 4all (formerly Crossroads) and the East Cheshire Hospice.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Sponsored Swim for the Ronald McDonald Family House Trust


Disabled Crewe swimmer Jamie Hinde, has set himself a challenge with a 50 mile swim at Crewe pool to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, which provides a “home-away-from-home” so parents or carers can stay close to their critically ill children, at little or no cost.

The RMH is close to Jamie and his family as they stayed there when Jamie’s nephew Jimmie Ollier, spent time at the hospital as a youngster. Sadly, Jimmy died of a rare heart disease, aged 12 years and Jamie and his family have raised hundreds of pounds for the charity in memory of Jimmie.

Jamie’s marathon swim began in February, during one of his Thursday evening swimming sessions with Seahorse, which caters for people with disabilities. He has set himself a target of swimming at least one mile per week, with the aim of completing his challenge in early 2016.

Jamie, 44, has been a member of Seahorse for over 20 years and has represented the Club in swimming galas at regional and national level. He has no use in his right arm and is registered blind due to his poor vision and he also has hearing loss.

Jamie's aim is to complete the 50 mile swim in 12 months to coincide with Seahorse celebrating 60 years, since its formation in 1956.

"Raising funds for such a worthwhile cause is a great idea. Despite his disabilities, there is no stopping Jamie in the pool. He swims non-stop every week and has plenty of determination. In the past he has raised funds for the Charity with donations he has received for vegetables he grows on his allotment." - Gareth Roberts, Secretary, Seahorse Swimming Club.

The RMH is an independent Charity and relies totally on public donations. If anyone would like to sponsor Jamie they can donate by visiting Crewe Baths during Seahorse's swimming session on Thursday's (6pm - 7pm) or online at: Virgin Money Giving | Fundraising | Jamie Hinde's fundraising page

Picture - Jamie Hinde

jamie 096

Sunday 24 May 2015

A local man recently completed an unusual walk for charity.

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

A local man recently completed an unusual walk for charity.

Tony Mason outside Walthamstow Central Tube Station

Tony Mason, aged 65, from Willaston followed the route of a London Underground Tube line - but above ground - on 9th May this year.

Tony and friend Judith Gibson used a London A-Z map to walk the route of the Victoria line from Euston to Brixton. On arrival at Brixton they caught the Victoria line train to Walthamstow, then walked back to Euston.

The walk took just over 5 hours - approximately 15 miles in total - and passed all 16 stations on the Victoria line.

The event was in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care - - and so far they have raised over £200.

Tony said, "We passed Buckingham Palace and had our lunch break by the canal near Tottenham Hale Underground Station. It was interesting to see parts of London which I had previously known as a 'tube stop'."

If you would like to give Tony a donation, please email him via

Friday 22 May 2015

Pay Pal Scam

Fraudsters often target ‘goods for sale’ adverts on popular online auctions sites, so watch out whenever you’re selling anything online.
How does the fraudster operate?
The fraudster will contact the seller to say that they want to buy the advertised item.
The seller then receives what looks like a genuine PayPal email, to confirm that the money has been paid by the buyer into their account.
With confirmation of payment, the seller will then send the item to the buyer’s address. The seller will later find that the PayPal email is fake and that the money has not been paid. The seller ends up losing out twice as not only do they not have the money, but they no longer have the item to sell.
Protect yourself:
• Check your PayPal account to ensure that the money has been paid in and has cleared into your bank account before you send the item to the buyer.
• Do not be bullied or rushed into sending items before you know that the payment has cleared – a genuine purchaser will not mind waiting a day or two for you to send them their item.
• If you are selling a vehicle, think carefully when selling to overseas purchasers – especially if they tell you they will send an extra payment for shipping – check that the funds have cleared before arranging this.

Thursday 21 May 2015

Health warning over fake goods sold by tanning salon owner


Members of the public who bought fake cosmetics or perfume from a tanning salon owner are being warned that they could cause allergic reactions and other health risks.

Richard Griffin tried to make a fast buck selling a wide range of counterfeit designer gear at Sun City in Welles Street, Sandbach.

He offered customers ‘Estee Lauder’ and ‘MAC’ cosmetics, ‘Chanel’ handbags, ‘Lacoste’ fragrances, ‘Tiffany & Co’ jewellery, ‘Barbour’ and ‘Super Dry’ jackets, ‘UGG’ footwear and ‘Gucci’ and ‘Dolce & Gabbana’ watches.

But Griffin’s money-making scheme was foiled after a member of the public complained to Cheshire East Council. An undercover Trading Standards officer visited the salon and made a test purchase.

Using their statutory powers, Council officers returned and seized 74 items, some of which were on display and some in storage. They also found a ledger book in which the illicit sales were recorded.

Trading Standards officers calculated that the genuine equivalents of the seized fake goods would retail for approximately £6,280.

Griffin, of The Stables, Stanthorn Hall, Middlewich Road, Middlewich,  admitted 15 offences under the Trade Marks Act and was sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work when he appeared at Warrington Crown Court on May 19.

He was ordered to pay £6,671 prosecution costs and, under a Proceeds of Crime confiscation order, he will also have to repay £1,857 or face three months in jail.

The court ordered that the counterfeit items seized from Griffin be destroyed.

Steph Cordon, Cheshire East Council’s head of communities, said: “Trade marks are an essential part of marketing or branding and once businesses register trademarks, Trading Standards services throughout the UK can take enforcement action against those who are found to have infringed them.

“The courts take a serious view of breaches of the Trade Marks Act 1994, with maximum penalties of up to ten years in jail.

“Intellectual property crime damages our economic wellbeing by affecting those who rely on genuine commerce to earn a living. It also poses considerable risks for consumers because fake goods are often dangerous and of poor quality.

“Fake cosmetics can be especially dangerous – some have been found to contain arsenic, cyanide or rat droppings and are harmful to health if used.

“I would urge anyone who bought cosmetics and perfume from Sun City not to use them because of the potential health risks.”

Council gives veterans’ charity £43,000 boost to help tackle social isolation


Cheshire East Council has given a £43,000 boost to veterans’ charity’s drive to help tackle social isolation.

The Royal British Legion (RBL) has been given money under the local authority’s Give Back community grant scheme.

The RBL has earmarked £25,000 of the grant for welfare support to local armed forces personnel and their dependants, both past and present, who are aged 55 or over. 

The remaining £18,000 will be used for volunteer recruitment, training and support as well as for purchasing much-needed equipment to deliver these services locally.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This Council is very pleased to be able to give this significant grant to help the Royal British Legion’s important work tackling the problem of social isolation among veterans of our armed forces.

“Servicemen and service women have put their lives on the line for their country time and time again over the past 100 years since the Great War began – and it is only right that they are given necessary help and support once they are back in civilian life.”

Gillian McKinnon, RBL area manager for Cheshire and Merseyside, said of the Council grant: “This is really great news and a fantastic boost for the area. We are really eager to start delivering these services locally but we will need more local people to get involved.  We simply cannot do it without the help and support of volunteers.”

Phil Reade, chairman of the Royal British Legion Cheshire committee, said: “I am delighted and would like to thank Cheshire East Council for giving us this opportunity.  As well as volunteers, we are also looking for fresh new members to join the committee or your local branch. Together we can make a difference.”

If you have ever served in the armed forces and would like to find out about what the RBL does and the support it provides, please get in touch with its offices. If someone you know has links to the armed forces and is socially isolated in any way, please pass on RBL’s contact details:

If you’d like to find out more about RBL volunteering opportunities, please contact Jane at C& or call the RBL on 0808 802 8080.

For more information about RBL visit their website at:

Cheshire East welcomes Heritage Lottery boost for Jodrell Bank


Cheshire East Council has welcomed an announcement that the Jodrell Bank Observatory is on course to receive £12m of Heritage Lottery Fund money to improve its offering for visitors.

The grant is earmarked for a new ‘First Light’ pavilion, which will celebrate the heritage of the Grade I-listed Lovell telescope and create a spectacular new space in which visitors can learn about our place in the Universe.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is great news for a world-famous icon of Cheshire East.

“We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund is backing this project, which will bring many more visitors to the Borough and also inspire young people to enjoy studying science and perhaps one day become the astronomers and engineers who will keep the UK at the forefront of global research.

“Coupled with the successful bid to remain as the headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array – the project to build the world’s largest radio telescope – this underlines the huge value of Jodrell Bank to Cheshire East.”

Jodrell Bank will receive £784,800 now and has two years to submit fully developed proposals for the project, which will cost a total of £19m.

The site near Goostrey is recognised as the only place in the world that can demonstrate the entire history of the development of radio astronomy.  It has been involved in many revolutionary scientific discoveries and feats of engineering since it was founded 70 years ago.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: “We are incredibly proud of our current science and great heritage at The University of Manchester and of our iconic site at Jodrell Bank. The announcement today is great news, not only for the University, but for our city-region and the UK-wide science community.”

Dr Teresa Anderson, Director of the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre said:  “We are absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting the ‘First Light’ project. Jodrell Bank epitomises a ‘can do’ approach to science and engineering and this funding will allow us to tell the story of all the amazing men and women who – sometimes, with help from younger family members – created the Observatory from scratch.”

Professor Brian Cox, University of Manchester Physicist and Broadcaster, said: “I am really pleased to hear that the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting the heritage of Jodrell Bank. The rich scientific history of the UK is a key part of our culture and Jodrell Bank is the stand-out icon of UK science and engineering.

“When I was young, visiting Jodrell Bank was one of the things that inspired me to become a scientist. This new project will inspire many more young people to carry on our great tradition of science and engineering.”

Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “Jodrell Bank is a remarkable and world famous site.  These initial proposals are ambitious and inspiring; they will encourage people to learn about and celebrate the UK’s longstanding tradition of innovation in science, technology and engineering. 

Cheshire East Council is investing £1m in a package of infrastructure improvements to support Jodrell Bank’s successful bid to retain its status as the headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array project.

Cheshire East scoops trio of top gongs at buildings’ design ‘Oscars’


Cheshire East is celebrating after three of the Borough’s developments scooped top honours at this year’s North West LABC Regional Building Excellence Awards.

The Local Authority Building Control presentations, held at the Macron Stadium, in Bolton, brought together hundreds of professionals for the prestigious event (held on Friday, May 8). A total of 32 authorities entered nominations for the awards.

Of the 15 categories, developers within Cheshire East scooped top prize in a fifth of them, winning the following categories;

● Best local builder;

● Best individual new home;

● LABC site supervisor of the year.

In addition, five more of the Council’s nominations received ‘highly commended’ recognition.

The three winners will now go forward to the National LABC Building Excellence Awards to be held in London later in the year.

Such success clearly shows that Cheshire East can demonstrate quality and style, reinforcing the value of living within the Borough.

The event celebrates the very best within construction in the region and recognises good relationships between developers and local authority building control services, who work together to ensure quality of build and design.

The awards evening was attended by members of the newly-formed Cheshire East Council wholly-owned company Civicance, which is another example of the authority’s commitment to provide high-quality services throughout the area.

Civicance managing director Ian Bunn said: “These awards showcase fine examples of how private developers are working together with local authority building control to create excellent projects, which enhance their local communities and their living environment. It was pleasing to see, once again, the energy and flair brought to these developments.

“The nominations were of a high standard, so I’m particularly pleased to see that Cheshire East performed so well. These awards both recognise and encourage the creation of a high-quality environment that people in the Borough want and deserve.

“This competition not only recognises the flair and imagination of those behind many of our landmark buildings but also the great working relationship that is harnessed between developers and their respective local authorities in creating well-designed buildings that serve our residents and communities well.”

Details of the winners are:

Best Local Builder (Winner)

Contractor:                Simon Clutton Homes Ltd

Location:                    Land to the rear of 12, Northfield Place, Shavington CW2 5BL and Wellington Road, Nantwich

Description:               Detached new dwelling

Architect:                   DSJ Private clients

Best Individual New Home (Winner)

Location:                    Deep Dene, Mereside Road, Mere, Knutsford

Description:               Replacement dwelling

Contractor:                DS Building Projects Ltd

Architect:                   Tsiantar Architects Ltd

LABC Site Supervisor of the Year (Winner)

Supervisor:                Gordon Derbyshire             

Description:               New dwellings, off West Street, Crewe

Contractor:                Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd

Those nominations which did not win their category but were recognised for their outstanding achievements rated as ‘Highly Commended’ included the following:

Best Local Builder (Highly Commended)

Contractor:                Jason Welsh Building Services

Location:                    Hawksey Drive, Stapeley and land to the side of 18 Wistaston Road, Willaston

Best Change of Use (Highly Commended)

Location:                    Lower Brook Barn, Smithy Lane, Rainow

Description:               Conversion of stone barn to a dwelling              

Architect:                   Hayes & Partners Ltd

Best Small New Housing Development (Highly Commended)

Location:                    Knutsford Road, Chorley

Description:               Erection of four new semi-detached dwellings             

Architect:                   Richard Larkin, RJL Architecture

Contractor:                PH Property Holdings Ltd

Best Public Service Building (Highly Commended)

Location:                    Leighton Hospital, Crewe

Description:               Operating theatres and critical care unit             

Architect:                   AFL Architects

Contractor:                Interserve

Applicant:                  Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Best Partnership with a Local Authority (Highly Commended)

Location:                    Crewe

Description:               Building plans and design            

Architect:                   Stuart Thorley

Experience the future of eyecare at Specsavers in Crewe


SPECSAVERS in Crewe has introduced a cutting edge new way of selecting and fitting customers’ glasses, using imaging software on tablet devices.

The opticians, located in Market Street now offers Digital Precision Eyecare, which ensures everyone receives the very best professional care and advice in frame selection and dispensing for their prescription, vision and lifestyle needs.

Michael Elleray, director of Specsavers in Crewe says: ‘This is very clever kit and has a real wow factor for customers. It’s a quick and easy process which ensures a perfect fit every time.’

Following an eye examination, the optical team assists customers in selecting their preferred glasses. Imaging software on a tablet is then used to take an image of them wearing the glasses, which in turn captures a range of essential dispensing measurements. These are unique to the customer and their chosen glasses.

Michael Elleray continues: ‘The tablet can also be used to show you what you look like wearing a range of different glasses to help you make your choice. The intelligent software also helps you choose by any lens options you might want, by demonstrating what they do in real time.’

Digital Precision Eyecare is now available in all Specsavers stores in the UK and Ireland. It is currently being promoted via a widespread advertising campaign, including national television commercials.

Michael Elleray adds: ‘Digital Precision Eyecare is all about providing a highly professional service in as convenient a way as possible for our customers. All our staff are fully qualified and trained in using this new equipment, and their expertise remain a pivotal part of the service.

‘So far the feedback we have received from customers has been very positive. Put simply, everyone that wants glasses can be confident in being provided with a pair that looks fantastic and fits perfectly.’

Specsavers stocks almost 2,000 pairs of glasses, starting from just £25 to the latest designer styles from £99 to £169. All glasses come with PENTAX single vision lenses and a scratch-resistant treatment.

To book your next appointment at Specsavers Crewe call 01270 250707 or visit

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Cheshire East residents offered cheapest pay-as-you-go energy


Fairerpower, Cheshire East Council’s new energy supplier, is now bringing cheaper gas and electricity to customers with pre-payment meters.

The Council has joined forces with OVO, an award winning energy supplier, to offer the region’s cheapest pay-as-you-go (PAYG) deal. (See note 1)

Customers who pay with monthly direct debits have been able to sign up since March 16. So far more than 1,300 have switched to Fairerpower, saving an average of more than £200 each. (See note 2)

Now, pre-payment customers can potentially save £67 every year with Fairerpower PAYG, which has been launched in a phased partnership with OVO. (See note 3)

Pre-payment customers can sign up to a PAYG tariff through the Fairerpower website or the dedicated Fairerpower PAYG phone line (0800 406 6705).

The PAYG tariff, meters and service will be provided by OVO Energy until a full Fairerpower-branded PAYG tariff is made available later this year.  (See note 4)

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Pay-as-you-go customers have often struggled to get good deals on gas and electricity and so are more likely to fall victim to fuel poverty.

“Cheshire East Council set up Fairerpower because we want to eradicate fuel poverty in the Borough.  This new development of our initiative is helping people who need it most – those who have been paying too much for their energy.

“We are proud that so many of our residents have benefited from this initiative. The Council does not get any money out of Fairerpower, in fact we are investing in it. The return we get on that investment is the savings we are achieving for residents.”

All PAYG customers will get:

· Savings of up to £67 per year on existing tariffs (see note 3);

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

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

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

Cheshire East Highways honoured for roadworks communications


Cheshire East Highways has scooped a regional award for transforming the way it keeps people informed about roadworks. 

The use of a traffic management application to plan, coordinate and publicise road works was named as the Best Practice Project of the Year by the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT).

The need to get up-to-date information to the public became evident following an increase in the number of permits for roadworks being processed by the Council.

Cheshire East Highways uses the application to ensure that closures, diversion routes and other temporary traffic diversions approved by the permit team are instantly displayed on the website, run by data technology firm Elgin.

This information is shown on the Cheshire East Highways website to help people plan their journeys while is used by motorists all over the UK.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Keeping people informed of works taking place is essential to ensure our busy network keeps moving and it is great for our team to receive recognition for their proactive approach.”

Cheshire East Highways has also been shortlisted for the CIHT Highway Asset Management Award for its ‘Invest to Improve’ approach to maintaining the Borough’s roads through the highway investment programme.

The same submission has also been entered into the highways maintenance efficiency category of the 2015 Highways Magazine Excellence Awards.

And the work of Cheshire East Highways in supervising the construction of Crewe Station’s new entrance was also acknowledged nationally when it was shortlisted for the Effective Partnerships Award by the CIHT.

Saturday 16 May 2015

Property professionals flock to hear good news about Cheshire East


More than 100 of the region’s top professionals and investors are expected to attend the launch of Cheshire East Council’s Commercial Property Review 2015.

The breakfast event at the Conference Centre, Alderley Park on Thursday, June 4, will give an insight into market trends, key transactions and major developments in the Borough area.

The annual report, now in its fifth edition, provides a detailed assessment of the vitality of the Cheshire East property market, capturing key trends as well as developments and major projects.

The launch will hear from:

  • Vince Sandwell of BE Group, an independent specialist in commercial development, who will provide an overview of property market trends in Cheshire East.
  • Julian Cobley, Head of Investment at Cheshire East Council, who will give an insight into Cheshire East’s Investment Programme and future plans.
  • Dr Chris Doherty, Alderley Park Site Director for Manchester Science Partnerships, who will provide an insight into Cheshire East’s world-class Science Corridor.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “The Borough has one of the strongest economies in the North West with many opportunities for potential investors.

“This launch event is a chance for professionals in the property market to update themselves about key projects such as:

  • The Council’s decision to offer £15m of development finance to support the redevelopment of Macclesfield town centre;
  • Alderley Park’s transformation into a multi-occupier community of collaborative bioscience innovators;
  • Plans for an HS2 Superhub station in Crewe that could potentially create 64,000 jobs.” 

Registration starts at 7:45am and there will be an opportunity for networking after the presentations are concluded at 9.20am.

To apply for registration, please contact the Business Relations team on 0300 123 5001

or email:

Council crackdown nets three benefits cheats who fraudulently claimed more than £30,000 of taxpayers’ money


A crackdown by Cheshire East Council has led to the successful prosecution of three benefits cheats who fraudulently claimed more than £30,000 of taxpayers’ money.

All three offenders have been sentenced by magistrates and will now have to repay the illegally-obtained benefits in full.

Joanne Phillips, 49, of Fanshawe Walk, Crewe, admitted fraudulently obtaining £20,823 in housing benefit, Council Tax benefit and Council Tax support. Phillips claimed she was a lone parent on a low income.

However, Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud investigation team found she had continued to claim benefits as a lone parent for more than seven years after her daughter had been removed from her care.

Phillips was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a two-month curfew imposed from 7pm to 7am. Magistrates also ordered her to pay £575 court costs and a victim surcharge of £60.

In a separate prosecution, Sophie Giles, of Peckforton Walk, Wilmslow, admitted fraudulently obtaining £6,636 in housing benefit and Council Tax benefit. She claimed she was living alone and on a low income.

However, investigations by the Council found Giles was living with her partner, who was supporting her financially.

Giles, 26, was sentenced to a 12-month community order and ordered to do 130 hours’ unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay court costs of £575 and a £60 victim surcharge.

In a separate case, Tracy Wrench, of Blagg Avenue, Nantwich, admitted fraudulently obtaining £7,067 in housing benefit, Council Tax benefit and Council Tax support by failing to declare she had savings totalling £16,000.

Wrench, 42, was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a requirement to do 130 hours’ unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay £395 court costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Cheshire East Council has taken steps to ensure that the overpaid benefits are repaid in full. The authority actively pursues the recovery of all fraudulently obtained money to ensure taxpayers don’t lose out.

All three prosecutions were brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team and heard at South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Crewe (on May 11, 2015).

Steph Cordon, head of communities at Cheshire East Council, said: “Benefit fraud will simply not be tolerated by this authority.

“Cheshire East is an enforcing Council and our investigations team works hard to track down offenders to protect our communities from those who abuse the rules at the expense of taxpayers.”

If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, you can ring the confidential freephone fraud hotline on 0800 389 2787. You don’t have to give your name and your call will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, you can report suspected fraud via the Council’s website at