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Thursday, 30 August 2018

Council prepares to launch next phase of borough’s development plan


Cheshire East Council is about to launch the next phase of the Development Plan, the approved framework for housing, employment, and other key infrastructure sites  up to 2030.

With the local plan strategy adopted last year, the council is now in the position of identifying further non-strategic sites for development, including housing. There will be a consultation process (starting 5 September) but no final decisions will be made until the consultation process is concluded and all feedback considered.

The Site Allocations and Development Policy Document (SADPD) will follow a similar pathway to the Local Plan Strategy, with two rounds of six-week public consultations, supported by a range of evidence documents and followed up with a series of public hearings chaired by a government planning inspector.

When adopted, the SADPD will replace the legacy policies of the three former borough local plans, covering Macclesfield, Congleton and Crewe and Nantwich.

The sites in the SADPD will be non-strategic – sites of less than 150 homes or five hectares in size.  Some will be focused in key employment areas in principal towns, such as Crewe, or in smaller key service centres.

The council must also meet its obligation to provide affordable housing, Gypsy and Traveller sites and sites for Travelling Showpeople.

A further element of the document is the review of policy boundaries around towns and villages to guide location of development and direct investment to them. But there will also be measures to protect land regarded as important to biodiversity and recreation.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “It is important that our residents and businesses are given a clear picture of what the council must provide in terms of housing sites, employment sites and other infrastructure requirements.

“Cheshire East is a great place to live, work, raise a family and have access to good schools and quality housing. This next phase in the local plan process is open and transparent and we encourage as many people as possible, including stakeholders and partners, to engage in this consultation process.

“The Local Plan Strategy and the SADPD are central to the achievement of sustainable development in the borough.”

To see a summary of the main proposals contained in the SADPD please see the agenda for the Strategic Planning Board meeting on 29 August 2018

https://bit.ly/2vVtupo

Cheshire East students again achieve excellent GCSE results in 2018


Cheshire East pupils have achieved yet more success with an excellent set of provisional GCSE results in 2018.

Provisional figures show that 70 per cent of pupils achieved a ‘standard pass’ or better in English and maths with 49 per cent achieving the ‘strong pass’. What is worth noting this year is the increase in the higher pass rate which is two percentage points above last year’s figure. Cheshire East is likely to be well above the national rate.

In English, more than 80 per cent of Cheshire East pupils gained the standard pass or better with 67 per cent achieving a stronger pass. In maths, 75 per cent of Cheshire East pupils gained the standard pass or better with 55 per cent achieving a stronger pass.

It is again encouraging to see the improvement in outcomes for boys especially in maths with boys now outperforming the girls. In addition, the performance of disadvantaged pupils has improved in English and maths.

Councillor Jos Saunders, children’s and families portfolio holder, said: “The young people of Cheshire East have once again excelled in their GCSE exam and have certainly risen to the challenge of having to deal with new exams arrangements and curriculum content.

“I am absolutely delighted for them, as GCSEs are the really important bedrock for a young person’s future. This time of year is an anxious one for pupils but I really do hope that the agonising wait for results has been worth it.

“I want to thank families, teachers and all school staff, who have worked so very hard to support our pupils and also the young people themselves – who continue to maintain an extraordinarily high success rate in Cheshire East.

“To continue to perform as a local authority at the highest level, year after year, is a real credit to our schools. To achieve these outstanding results requires real determination and commitment from everyone involved and gives every young learner the best opportunity to progress into their next phase of education, apprenticeship, training or employment.”

New reformed GCSEs have been developed to meet the requirements of the government, who wanted more-challenging qualifications and better differentiation of students at the higher grades.

The new grading system using the 9-1 tiering rather than A* - G has been extended this year to around 20 curriculum subjects resulting in the majority of entries this year using  numerical grades.

Crewe's Seahorse Swimming Club

Crewe's Seahorse Swimming Club, which caters for people with disabilities, presented St Luke's Hospice with a cheque for £110 recently, following its annual six mile walk from the Rising Sun Pub at Middlewich Road, Crewe to Nantwich Lake, and back again. The walk was followed with lunch at the Rising Sun.

Seahorse members joined in with celebrations that took place throughout the UK as part of 'The Great Get Together' which brings communities closer together, inspired by Jo Cox MP, who was tragically killed on 16th June 2016.

"Everyone had a great time walking in the glorious sunshine and it was pleasing that £110 was raised on the day for such a worthy cause" - Gareth Roberts, Secretary, Seahorse Swimming Club.

Photo: Seahorse swimmer Ethan Carroll presenting the cheque to St Luke's fundraising officer Mandy Shaw.

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LOCAL HOME CARE PROVIDER HOSTS FUNDRAISING FAMILY BBQ RAISING FUNDS FOR LOCAL HOSPITAL CHARITY


Nantwich based Home Care provider, Right At Home South Cheshire based in recently organised a fundraising barbeque at Crewe Vagrants Sports Club which raised over £800 for Mid Cheshire Hospitals Charity dementia appeal.

The event was open to all ages and over 200 people attended including care givers and clients from Right At Home. Guests enjoyed live music, a selection of interactive stalls and delicious barbeque food.

Ben Selby, Managing Director and Owner of Right At Home South Cheshire said, ‘When we started planning the Right at Home Family BBQ earlier this year we wanted to simply bring together our staff team and clients we support along with families to enjoy a relaxing afternoon together. It was amazing to see this evolve into a larger event, which enabled us to raise lots of money for the ‘Everybody Knows Somebody’ dementia appeal with the support and involvement from many local businesses and organisations. Just as importantly we saw people of all ages coming together from our local community to enjoy time together, young, elderly and everything in between.’

Carole Salmon, Community Fundraiser for Mid Cheshire Hospitals Charity added, ‘I was delighted to be able to attend this impressive event. From the live music to the fabulous raffle, it was so lovely to see everyone enjoying themselves and smiling. The money raised on the day will go to our dementia appeal which will fund numerous projects across our hospitals and in the community to improve the service for people living with dementia, so big thanks to Right At Home and everyone who supported it’.

To find out more about Mid Cheshire Hospitals Charity dementia appeal and how you can be involved, contact Carole Salmon, Community Fundraiser on 01270 273248.

For information about home care or employment opportunities with Right At Home South Cheshire call 01270 257347.

Ben Josie Grayson with phot frame

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Council unveils remodelling of home care for older and vulnerable people


Cheshire East Council is changing the way it organises care services provided to older and vulnerable people in their own homes.

The authority has invested an extra £3.5m to ensure ‘care at home’ services are best placed to provide care and support for its residents and meet the expected rise in demand.

The council has worked with care providers to develop a new ‘place-based’ model for the delivery of care at home which matches how health and social care services are delivered. This model divides the borough into six geographical areas.

A number of prime care providers have now been appointed to deliver most of the care in each individual area. This will be supported by a framework of care providers who can work across the whole borough.

The new contracts have been awarded jointly by the council and NHS South Cheshire and NHS Eastern Cheshire clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), following a robust constructive tendering process in accordance with EU regulations.

Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “The aim of this new model is to provide outcome-based services for residents whose health needs are likely to increase and help residents to maximise their independence and stay in their homes for longer.

“The new provision will also have a greater focus on helping people to achieve their preferred outcomes by linking in with wider services available within their local communities.”

Councillor Janet Clowes, cabinet member for adult social care and integration, said: “In Cheshire East, we have an ageing population and the borough needs to increase the capacity and capability of care services that enable people to remain living at home longer, reduce the need to move and provide timely and appropriate care.”

Any residents affected by the changes will be informed in writing over the coming weeks and will be supported through the transition by the council and their new care provider.

Cheshire East Council has a duty under the Care Act 2014 to promote the efficient and effective operation and sustainability of the care market for the borough.

The council’s budget for the adult care sector is around £80m for 2018/19 – of which around £25m is for care at home services.

However, the council faces a significant financial challenge – due to reductions in government grants, rising costs and increased demand for care services.

The council’s aim is to boost the quality, capacity, flexibility, choice, impact and value for money of these services – to deliver the right support, in the right place, at the right time.

● Anyone concerned about the changes to care at home provision, or who would like further information, should contact the council’s Danielle Stuart on 01625 374207.

Government £45m grant signals green light for Borough’s next major road scheme


Construction of another major road scheme in Cheshire East can go ahead following confirmation today (Monday) of a £45m government grant.

The 5.5km (3.5 mile) Congleton Link Road will relieve the town centre of frustrating traffic congestion and unlock key sites for housing and employment. It represents a huge economic boost for the town and will significantly improve connectivity from the Macclesfield area to the M6 corridor.

The £90m scheme will link the A536 Macclesfield Road to the north with the A534 Sandbach Road to the west and will be the third major highways infrastructure project in as many years.

The transport minister, Liz Sugg, has confirmed that Cheshire East Council’s business case for the road is approved and that a £45m grant will come from the Department for Transport, supplementing the £24m to be met by Cheshire East. The balance will come from developer funding. 

Glen Williams, Cheshire East Council deputy cabinet member for environment, said: “This is excellent news and we are delighted that the government has shown faith in our business case, our ability to deliver and has recognised the need for this road project to go ahead.

“We recognise that while the works are underway, there may be some inconvenience for residents and road users, but we will be working hard with our chosen contractor, Graham Construction, to minimise any impacts.

“In the long term, however, the link road will have a considerable beneficial impact on Congleton and its residents, and we now look forward to getting a spade in the ground.”

The new road is due to be completed in late 2020 and will unlock sites for up to 2,400 new homes and 50 acres of employment land, creating the potential to generate 3,000 jobs by 2035, delivering £13m into the local economy.

Transport minister Liz Sugg, said: “This new bypass will not only lead to fewer accidents and cut congestion in Congleton, it will take lorries out of the town centre and improve air quality for its residents.”

It is the third major road scheme in Cheshire East in the past four years, following completion of the Basford West Spine Road and the Crewe Green Link Road together with the current major upgrade to Crewe Green Roundabout, which is well underway.

A public consultation showed just under 95 per cent of the public supported the Congleton scheme.

Free Family Event at Tatton Park


A free family day of activities, music and stories to commemorate the First World War is being held in the historic grounds of Tatton Park’s Old Hall, Knutsford, on Sunday 26 August.

Hosted by Cheshire East Council, the day starts at 11am and involves a range of fascinating hands-on activities for ‘A Soldier’s Story’ when visitors can help to uncover the past by tracing a local soldier’s personal wartime story. It’s a unique opportunity to handle precious historical artefacts, explore family history and enjoy craft activities, creative writing and storytelling.

Visitors can also bring a picnic to the Cheshire East Reflects family concert which starts at 1pm, set within the striking backdrop of Tatton’s medieval Old Hall. The concert will feature the Staffordshire Military Wives’ Choir and the famous Foden’s Brass Band. The inspiring ‘Sacred Sounds’ performance will tell the story of British India’s involvement in the First World War.

The event is part of the council’s ‘Cheshire East Reflects’ four-year programme of remembrance of the sacrifice by the people of Cheshire East during the First World War. Local residents, community groups, arts organisations and partners, such as the Imperial War Museum North, have all participated in the programme with more than 25,000 people attending events and taking part, including free schools workshops.

Cheshire East Council leader Rachel Bailey will help introduce the day and said,

“This will be a fantastic and also poignant day of events with lots of hands-on activities for families, gripping stories and inspirational music. Cheshire East Reflects has been a thought-provoking programme that has paid a moving tribute to the tremendous courage and sacrifice of Cheshire’s soldiers”.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Hula Hoop classes

Reporter Jonathan White

Fitness instructor Claire Wilson now offers Hula Hoop classes in both Shropshire and Cheshire.

Claire teaches her Hula Hoop classes at Market Drayton Methodist Church on Shrewsbury Road every Monday (11:30-12:30pm), Adderley Village Hall every Wednesday (6:30pm-7:30pm), Scout & Guide Hall in Audlem every Friday morning (9:30am-10:30am), and Cheshire College - South & West in Crewe every Friday (5:15pm-6pm).

Claire said: “The benefits of hula hooping are endless, from working your core to improving your spine strength and flexibility. Give hooping a try and see for yourself."

For more information and to reserve your place/hoop, please contact Claire on 07960616162 or by email to hula-hooping@hotmail.com , or search Hula Hoop Yourself Fit on Facebook.

Fitness instructor Claire Wilson

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

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Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service

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Firelink Enewsletter - August 2018


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


Smoke alarms save lives

Encouraing residents to test smoke alarms

Smoke alarms can be the difference between life and death.

Research suggests that you are at least four times more likely to die in a house fire if you don’t have a smoke alarm.

That’s why we're urging residents to purchase alarms for their homes.

Find out more - Smoke alarms save lives


Safeguarding and Young People's Conference

IFE conference

Tickets are now available for 100 Years Young - Futureproofing Generation Alpha, a not-to-be missed conference for anyone who works with young people.

Featuring an impressive line-up of expert speakers, the one day event on Wednesday 26 September at Safety Central, Lymm, Cheshire, will shine the spotlight on educating, engaging and safeguarding young people, in particular how we can target Generation Alpha, young people born after 2011 and predicted to be the most transformative generation ever.

The conference speakers have been drawn from the breadth of the sector and will explore issues such as firesetting, arson, anti-social behaviour, changing behaviours and how digital experiences can help futureproof the young.

Find out more - IFE Centenary Conference


Concerning rise in deliberately set fires

Cheshire Fire and Police join forces

Firefighters and police officers are concerned by a spate of fires in the Wilmslow area that are believed to have been started deliberately.

The spike in arson incidents, particularly in the suburban town of Handforth, has coincided with the recent spell of hot weather.

The fires have predominantly been in open spaces, including in parks and scrubland.

Recent fires in the area involving tree scrub, rubbish, cars and wheelie bins are believed to have been started deliberately.

Such fires can lead to larger, potentially life-threatening blazes and they also take vital resources away from other incidents and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cheshire Constabulary are working in partnership to tackle the problem.

Find out more - Concerning rise in deliberately set fires


Fire Station open days

Ellesmere Port Fire Station Open Day 2017

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

Find out more - Fire Station open days

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

Find out more - Your local fire station

Message Sent By
Ashley Lawton (Cheshire Fire , Administrator, Cheshire Fire)

Leighton Hospital

The performance of our local Leighton Hospital in Crewe is appalling.The number of patients waiting more that four hours for A&E has more than doubled in the last year.

12,200 patients,17% of all patients, had to wait longer than four hours in A&E.

Out of the 139 Hospital trusts in England,Leighton is near the bottom of the league table at 121.

NONE of the targets for ambulance call out times were met, thus putting lives at risk.

The hospital cannot blame the poor performance on lack of staff.Since 2011 the number of nurses has risen by a whopping 39% and the number of doctors has risen by 27%.

The hospital management has badly let down local people, who are not getting the health service they are paying for in their taxes.Unless there is immediate improvement in the performance of Leighton Hospital, the Government should put in a new management team, who will deliver the first class local health service that local people expect and deserve.

Yours faithfully,

Cllr. Brian Silvester

For Britain Party

Chairman 'For Cheshire'

Garden gnomes in Wistaston

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

Garden gnomes in Wistaston that received local, national and worldwide fame last year have become the victims of a targeted attack.

Laurence Perry, aged 78, of Westfield Drive in Wistaston, Cheshire woke up on the morning of Monday 13th August 2018 to discover that twenty-five of his gnomes had been smashed or stolen from his garden and land in front of his home.

All Laurence’s gnomes were superglued to a wooden base panel and ten were either smashed or stolen from a wooden shelf at the front of his garden, whilst a further fifteen gnomes were wantonly destroyed or thieved from a wooden base around a tree on land in front of his house.

The gnomes made national and international news last year when Cheshire East Council removed Laurence’s gnomes after receiving a complaint. The subsequent story received worldwide publicity including the BBC, Daily Mail, Express, Mirror and Telegraph along with newspapers in India and the USA. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-40644575

Laurence is a keen gardener who always checks on his premises before heading for bed. He believes that the replacement gnomes were attacked either late on Sunday night or in the early hours of Monday morning. He has previously had one gnome stolen, but it was safely returned by the guilty party the next day. Laurence believes that this incident was a targeted attack by one or more individuals, but he has no idea who would bear a grudge against the gnomes or himself.

The good news is that kind individuals have rallied around in support of Laurence’s mission to bring a smile to people’s faces. A builder has already donated two 4ft ‘Mr & Mrs’ garden gnomes, local residents have donated gnomes and Christian Davies from Alan Davies Car Sales in Crewe has offered to sponsor new gnomes.

Laurence Perry said: “It is sad that people’s enjoyment of the gnomes has been destroyed by one or more persons unknown. However, good has come from bad as I have already received replacement gnomes from generous members of the public. If anyone else would like to donate a gnome to me then you are welcome to drop it off at my house on Westfield Drive in Wistaston. I thank everyone for their continued support.”

Laurence Perry with two gnomes ripped from their base and the now empty wooden shelf at the front of his garden

The annual Wistaston 'Duck Race

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

The annual Wistaston 'Duck Race and Children’s Model Boat Race' takes place on Saturday 8th September 2018 at the Joey the Swan recreation ground, Wistaston.

Stalls open from 1pm. Children’s Model Boat Race starts at 2:30pm. Duck Race starts at 3:15pm. Duck Race tickets = £1 each (available on the day). The event is organised by members of the Wistaston Community Council.

The main sponsors are iWear Opticians - an independent opticians based in Nantwich and Tarporley, http://www.iwearopticians.co.uk/ .

A representative from Wistaston Community Council said, “Please come and support this event. We hope that it will be a quacking success and raise much needed money for the local community.”

Publicity photo - start of 2017 Duck Race

Nfib Alert - Bogus Overseas Officers

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Action Fraud (NFIB)

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Nfib Alert - Bogus Overseas Officers


Fraudsters are contacting overseas students and visitors who are in the UK via their mobile phone or social network account and purporting to represent UK or foreign law enforcement.
After fraudsters have claimed to work with their respective embassy or government, they tell the victim that there is evidence in the form of forged documentation or parcels which implicate them in a crime such as money laundering, fraud or immigration offences.
After demanding further personal details from the victim such as their name, current address and copies of personal documentation, they threaten the victim by suggesting a warrant exists for their arrest which will result in their deportation and imprisonment unless they transfer a payment to them in order to cancel the arrest or pay a fine. Once the money is transferred, all contact between the victim and the fraudster is severed.

What You Need To Do:

  • Police will never ask you to withdraw to transfer money so “it can be checked”, neither would they demand money to in order to cancel an arrest.
  • Do not be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details no matter who they say they are; protect your information and have the confidence to question and refuse unusual requests.
  • If you have made a payment to someone claiming to be the police or government department, and you think you might be a victim of fraud, you can report it to Action Fraud any time of the day or night using our online fraud reporting tool. You can also get advice about fraud or cyber-crime by calling 0300 123 2040.
  • If you are a student you can ask your Student Union or University for advice, help and support.

Message Sent By
Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Seahorse Swimming Club

Seahorse Swimming Club, based at Crewe's Lifestyle Centre, came away as overall winners of a friendly gala hosted by Sailfin Swimming Club at Sale Leisure Centre, Manchester. Thirty five swimmers with learning and physical disabilities from the North West took part in individual and relay races, as they prepared for next month’s Halliwick regional gala.

“There was lots of enthusiasm and determination shown by many of the swimmers and it was good to see a few new faces taking part, including Seahorse’s Matt Roberts, who came away with a gold meal on his gala debut. The competition gave the swimmers a chance to work on their fitness and as a team. It also gave new swimmers a taste of competition and an opportunity to swim in a different environment and follow the gala rules.” – Gareth Roberts, (Chief Instructor).

Seahorse representatives were: Zack Beeston, Carson Bruce, Ethan Carroll, Shea Dutton, Paul Edwards, Jonathan Harrison, Neil Jones, Amelia Pirzadeh, Matt Roberts, Sean Savage and Erin Yoxall.

They bagged a total of 20 medals - 14 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze.

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Thursday, 9 August 2018

Don’t lose your right to vote – sign up to the Electoral Register!


Cheshire East Council is urging people not to miss out on the chance to vote as the annual renewal of the Electoral Register gets under way.

Households are being sent renewal forms over the coming weeks (16 August to 2 September), which they need to respond to as soon as possible.

Those not on the Electoral Register cannot vote in elections.

Electoral Registration Officer Kath O’Dwyer, who is acting chief executive of Cheshire East Council, is urging residents to respond to their registration forms.

She said: “Voting is a vital civil right and the lifeblood of democracy – but if you are not registered to vote you risk losing ‘your voice’ at the ballot box.”

“I would appeal to all the people of Cheshire East – whatever your politics – to make sure you respond to the form to stay on the register. Don’t miss out on the chance to vote.”

Registering to vote in elections is a legal requirement.

It only takes a few minutes to check the information on the form and respond using one of the options on the front page of the form.

The next elections scheduled for the voters of Cheshire East are the borough-wide town, parish and borough council elections in May 2019.

Free children’s creative events throughout the summer holidays


Children will get the chance to take part in a fun learning initiative which will develop their skills in digital creativity, coding, design and music.

Cheshire East Council’s Shift digital activities programme has launched a new events initiative called ‘Make Shift Crewe’. This is in partnership with the council’s library services and Wavemaker, a community interest company based in Stoke.

There will be a total of eight free sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout August – starting on Tuesday 7 August and finishing on Thursday 30 August. These were funded by Crewe Town Council .

Through this initiative, youngsters aged between five and 18 will be able to set up a mobile digital laboratory, carrying out a range of fun learning activities.

The ‘drop-in’ sessions will focus around working with animations, computer coding work and 3D printing, as well as the popular construction game Minecraft.

Councillor Jos Saunders, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for children to have fun, learn and develop their skills during their holidays. Parents are able to watch their children play and develop their creative skills and they can get involved too!

“We are delighted to be able to unveil this initiative, which will provide up to 20 hours of fun and creative learning activities in Crewe for youngsters throughout August. We would like to thank Crewe Town Council for their continued support.”

The activities are:

Electronic orchestra

Visitors can create their own circuits to create their choice of music. Play a music masterpiece with fruit and Play-Doh! Youngsters will be able to find out more about parallel and serial circuit design and functions.

Robot Coding challenge

This showcase will be a hands-on introduction on what we need programming for and why it is an important skill for the future.

Intro to 3D Printing and Manufacture

These fun and engaging sessions focus on 3D Design, printing and manufacture. Learners will find out about current and future technologies and get ‘hands on’ using the Wavemaker iPads, pre-loaded with 3D design apps and software to play and create some unique 3D pieces.

The events take place at:

Tuesday 7 August

10am-12.30pm Jubilee House, St. Paul's Street, Crewe CW1 2QA

Thursday, 9 August   

10am-12.30pm Bethany Centre, Limetree Avenue, Crewe CW1 4HZ

Tuesday, 14 August

10am-12.30pm St Andrew’s Church Parish Hall Corner of Bedford Street / Ernest Street,

Crewe CW2 6JE

Thursday, 16 August       

1pm-3.30pm YMCA Fun Day, Derby Docks, Derby Street, Crewe CW1 3ER

Tuesday, 21 August         

10am-12.30pm Georges Community Centre, West Street, Crewe CW1 2QA

Thursday, 23 August       

1pm-3.30pm YMCA, Derby Docks, Derby Street, Crewe CW1 3ER

Tuesday, 28 August         

10am-12.30pm Crewe Lifestyle Centre, Moss Square, Crewe CW1 2BB

Thursday, 30 August       

1pm-3.30pm YMCA, Derby Docks, Derby Street, Crewe CW1 3ER

Charity fundraising

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

Charity fundraising friends Roy Price, 51 from Crewe, and Ian Jones, 46 also from Crewe, have thus far this year raised over £2,700 by pushing a 100kg wheelbarrow and wearing a bear costume respectively on a fourteen mile walk from Crewe to Nantwich and back, via a Garden Party at The Woodside in Wistaston and a charity night at the Bombay Restaurant in Crewe.

The pairs next challenge on Sunday 9th September 2018 is another walk involving a wheelbarrow and the bear costume, but this time they intend to walk up a mountain! They plan to climb Snowdon, which is the highest mountain in Wales and has an elevation of 1,085 metres above sea level.

Roy and Ian are both raising money for the Macmillan Chemotherapy Suite at Leighton Hospital in Crewe. Roy in memory of his wife - Ruth Price - who passed away in February this year from secondary breast cancer. Ruth was treated at the Macmillan Cancer Unit at Leighton Hospital. Ian in memory of his mother - Janet Jones - who also passed away from cancer.

Their target is to raise £5,000 and in late-September this year Roy will aim to climb the Mount Kilimanjaro volcano in Tanzania - the highest mountain in Africa. In readiness for Kilimanjaro Roy is receiving training from EDGE Travel Worldwide via their ‘Sofa to Summit’ programme which includes health, nutrition, fitness and training along with UK walks. Roy’s latest challenge will be part of his training.

Roy Price said: “I faced my 51st birthday without Ruth, the first time in 30 years without her. It’s been hard, very hard but the fantastic encouragement and community spirit has spurred me along. Myself and Ian would like to thank all the individuals and organisations who have given us their generous support.”

To add to the fundraising total please visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RoyPrice2

Roy Price and Ian Jones are preparing for their next challenge

The Vikings are coming …..


Tatton’s Old Hall is bracing itself for a Viking invasion, 1,000 years since Norsemen first crossed the Cheshire borders. And these ones are no less terrifying!

On Sunday, August 12 The Vikings of Middle England will be staging a dynamic and exciting re-enactment event in the atmospheric grounds of Tatton’s Tudor Old Hall.

Witness the clash of steel and hear the smash of axe on shield as these hardened warriors demonstrate Viking combat skills. The Vikings of Middle England are renowned for their historical authenticity and their ‘realistic, exciting and entertaining battle displays.

It’s not all about battle and ‘bloodshed’; around 30 re-enactors will be setting up an authentic Viking camp at the Old Hall and demonstrating the domestic side of Viking life. They will be joined by The Viking Long Ship Experience who will show that Vikings were traders as well as raiders and invaders. Visitors can learn about the Viking way of life through other living history activities such as story telling, blacksmithing, cooking over open fires and coin-striking.

A number of other displays will keep young and older visitors entertained from storytelling to the opportunity to try on armour and test out their own expertise with an archer’s longbow, for a small charge.

Old Hall steward Mick Ricketts said: “In the old Norse tongue the word Viking means raider or pirate and everyone loves a pirate, don’t they? Pirates are jolly but pirates are also ruthless and good at fighting and plundering. Viking Sunday brings a whole era back to life within the picturesque and normally

tranquil setting of the Old Hall. Be prepared for the crash of steel on steel or the thud of steel on shield but also find out about Viking crafts and culture.”

Viking Sunday at the Old Hall Sunday, August 12

12pm to 5pm (last entry 4pm) at the Old Hall. Prices: adults £7, child £5, Family £19 (2 adults and up to 3 children). Normal Parkland Vehicle entry of £7 per car applies. Additional small charge for have a go archery.

For further information about this release contact:

Marketing Department

Tel: 01625 374400 / Email: tattonmarketing@cheshireeast.gov.uk

www.tattonpark.org.uk

vikings (3)

Burty Bears Storytime Picnic - Leighton Saxon Gate

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Burty Bears Storytime Picnic - Leighton Saxon Gate - 21St August 2018 - 12:00Pm-13:00Pm


Burty Bear’s Storytime and Picnic!
NEW REGULAR EVENT ALERT!
Following reports of anti-social behavior on Saxon Gate Play Area, Cheshire Police are holding a new type of regular event where children aged 3-7 can take part in a police themed story time and activities with Local PCSO’s and Burty the Police Bear- Our new mascot!
We will also be asking for some of you to take our police bears home with you for a holiday and write some stories of their adventures to share at the next session!
The event is aiming to bring the community together and create a more positive atmosphere at the park for the local residents and younger children and to also teach them about the importance of trusting the police!
Please come and join us for our very first session and let’s make this a success!
When: 12:00 -13:00 Tuesday 21st August 2018
Where: Saxon Gate Play Area
You will need: Drinks/snacks and your favorite teddy!
The idea for the 'Teddy bear picnic' theme stems from an ongoing initiative that is running where Cheshire Police are encouraging the local community to knit 'Buddy Bears' that will go in our response cars to be given out to children to provide comfort following a traumatic situation. If you would like to get involved in this project please get in touch!
Kind regards, PCSOs Lizzie Jolley and Sarah Shaw
PCSO of Haslington and Rural Villages and of Crewe East PCSO of Leighton

£5,000 council grant on hand to help community groups support local needs


Communities across the borough can tap into a £200,000 pot of money from Cheshire East Council to boost local initiatives.

Activities that could benefit include support or training for volunteers and the purchase of equipment to improve the quality of life for local people.

Voluntary, community and faith sector organisations, particularly those within hard-to-reach communities, are urged to make applications now. The next round of the early help and community grant scheme is open and groups wishing to apply must do so by 28 September.

Each application can be for up to £5,000 but strict criteria are applied. Organisations seeking to benefit are encouraged to explore the options and application process through the council’s website*.

Successful organisations must report back to the council on how they have spent their allocation.  The scheme is meant to be competitive, open and transparent, enabling the council to distribute limited resources to support and encourage initiatives, especially in hard-to-reach communities.

Organisations must show a defined impact with clear outcomes.

An applicant can receive financial support to meet the running costs of a new activity group, such as computer and internet tuition, introducing a new sport or the development of personal skills, including training in volunteering, health and safety, sports coaching or food hygiene.

Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “The early help and community grants scheme is key to the delivery of the council’s ‘connected communities’ strategy and meets with the authority’s core values, one of which is to enable people to live well and for longer.

“Vibrant voluntary, community and faith sectors are seen as vital to developing strong and engaging communities and the small grants scheme is aimed at generating significant local activity to produce a positive impact.

“Improved outcomes can help build resilience, empowering people to manage their health and wellbeing, reduce isolation, minimising health risks and hospital admissions.”

*For more information about the early help and community grant scheme, including how to apply, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/communitygrant or email communitygrants@cheshireeast.gov.uk

or telephone 01270 685809.

Council’s highways teams take advantage of dry summer


Cheshire East Council’s highways teams have taken full advantage of the long, dry spell to ‘crack on’ with major road repairs around the borough.

Around 40 miles (62.5km) of roadway have been completely resurfaced so far and 7,459 potholes have been repaired already to keep the borough’s roads safe for users.

Cheshire East Highways has carried out repairs in Wilmslow, Crewe, Nantwich, Congleton, Macclesfield, Poynton and Knutsford, with many more towns and villages set to receive road improvements in the weeks and months ahead.

Councillor Glen Williams, Cheshire East Council deputy cabinet member for environment, said: “Our crews have been working in extremely testing conditions owing to the recent hot weather and I wish to thank them for their professionalism and commitment to the task in hand.

“This long, dry spell has been helpful but on some days the heat has made working conditions for staff extremely challenging. However, we are still on target to complete the schedule of works planned across the borough this summer.”

Cheshire East Council has now unveiled its extensive highways investment programme for 2018-19.

The council assesses the needs of the highways network, maximising the value of maintenance and improvement works within the funding available, for the benefit of residents and businesses.

The £20m capital programme is extensive, with more than 70 carriageway improvement schemes scheduled, from minor repairs to total resurfacing works. More than 70 carriageway patching schemes are programmed. There are 16 projects to repair bridges and other structures, plus 22 road safety improvements, including speed management initiatives.

The 18/19 investment programme will also see the completion of the four-year LED street lighting project, with a further 8,500 street lights scheduled for the switch.

Councillor Williams added: “This is a very comprehensive programme of works, emphasising our full commitment to improving the standard of our road network while, at the same time, introducing important safety measures where required.

“Where road closures are needed, residents and businesses will always be kept informed and we hope our residents and road users will understand that some inconvenience is unavoidable, when schemes have to be carried out in their area.

“Our highways role is one of the most important services this council delivers and we are constantly striving to achieve a road network to be proud of.”

The highways investment programme, which is now published on the council’s website, does not include the major road infrastructure schemes, such as Congleton Link Road, Middlewich Eastern Bypass, A500 dualling and the Crewe package of works in Leighton, as these are delivered as part of a separate strategic infrastructure programme.

The council’s highways service is responsible for repairs and management of the borough’s 1,677 miles of roads and 1,100 miles of footways in addition to the maintenance of bridges, street lighting, signage and 372 miles of cycleways. It is the biggest council asset – valued at nearly £6 billion.

To view the full programme of scheduled works and how it will benefit the roads and footways in your area visit: https://bit.ly/2ATfykI

Don’t forget, you can report a pothole and track its repair here: https://bit.ly/1J3f8mz

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Hockeython

A ‘Hockeython’ took place at The Vagrants Ground in Willaston on Saturday 28th July 2018 and raised over £1,000 for the charity ‘Bloodwise’, https://bloodwise.org.uk/ . The event was organised by and featured players from Crewe Vagrants Hockey Club who played a continuous 12-hour hockey game on their home pitch.

Bloodwise was chosen as a Ladies 1st team member of Crewe Vagrants Hockey Club - Steph Thompson - has recently been diagnosed with Leukaemia. Steph is receiving treatment, so the club wanted to raise the profile of the charity and hopefully change the world for people diagnosed with blood cancers.

Liz Boffey from Bloodwise South Cheshire branch said, "Bloodwise South Cheshire are indebted to Crewe Vagrants for their fantastic 12 hour hockeython. The standard of hockey was amazing and the event was well supported. All monies raised go directly into Blood Cancer research. As the local Bloodwise branch, it's great to be fund raising locally in this way. Further information of Bloodwise South Cheshire from Liz Boffey 01948871250 liz.boffey@btinternet.com and bloodwise.org .

Bloodwise are collecting at Morrisons Nantwich on Thursday 9th August 2018 (8am-8pm).

Hockeython participants (1)

Scam Alert - Fake British Gas Emails


Action Fraud (NFIB)

Message Type Icon

Scam Alert - Fake British Gas Emails



Plain Text:
Watch out for these fake British Gas refund emails.
We’ve had an increase in reports about fake British Gas emails claiming to offer refunds. The links provided in the emails lead to genuine-looking British Gas phishing websites that are designed to steal the usernames and passwords for British Gas accounts.
Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
For more information on how to stay secure online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk

Message Sent By
Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

First ever Vets Day for Tatton’s Farm with local veterinary practice Wright and Moreton


Tatton Park’s Farm and Wright and Moreton vets are excited to welcome budding vets of any age to the Farm, Wednesday 8th August for hands on activities including scanning some of the cows heartbeats, taking a closer look at some of the tools vets use and questions and answers with the experts. There'll also be dressing as a vet - with a prize for the best dressed vet that visits the Farm!

Sophie from Wright and Morton said “‘Wright and Morten are really excited to be working in collaboration with Tatton Park Farm, in this new event on their annual calendar. Visitors will be able to learn all about the amazing work of our vets and hear what takes place on their visits. There will also be a chance to find out some marvellous animal facts and have the opportunity to ask the vets lots of questions.

With a host of interactive activities around the farm, this will be a great family event, where not only will you be able to meet the animals but you can learn lots of fun information about them too. We look forward to seeing everyone there”

Vet Day will take place from 12pm – 3pm on Wednesday 8th August, with no extra additional charge (regular entry charge to the Farm applies)

For more information, please visit www.tattonpark.org.uk

Green Belt ‘being eroded at an alarming rate’


460,000 houses being planned for land that will be released from the Green Belt, while the percentage of ‘affordable’ homes built continues to fall
The Green Belt remains under severe pressure, despite government commitments to its protection, according to a new report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
CPRE’s annual State of the Green Belt report [1] highlights that there are currently 460,000 homes being planned to be built on land that will soon be released from the Green Belt [2]. Moving Green Belt boundaries when reviewing local plans makes it easier for local authorities to release land for housing, but is only supposed to take place under ‘exceptional circumstances’. This strategic shrinking of the Green Belt, as a way of getting around its protected status, is as harmful as building on the Green Belt itself.
The report also demonstrates that building on the Green Belt is not solving the affordable housing crisis, and will not do so. Last year 72% of homes built on greenfield land within the Green Belt were unaffordable by the government’s definition [3].
Of the 460,000 homes that are planned to be built on land that will be released from the Green Belt, the percentage of unaffordable homes will increase to 78%.
CPRE warns that this release of land looks set to continue, as one third of local authorities with Green Belt land will find themselves with an increase in housing targets, due to a new method for calculating housing demand. The London (Metropolitan) Green Belt will be the biggest casualty [4].
Tom Fyans, Director of Campaigns and Policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:
‘We are being sold a lie by many developers. As they sell off and gobble up the Green Belt to build low density, unaffordable housing, young families go on struggling to afford a place to live. The affordable housing crisis must be addressed with increasing urgency, while acknowledging that far from providing the solution, building on the Green Belt only serves to entrench the issue.
‘The government is failing in its commitment to protect the Green Belt – it is being eroded at an alarming rate. But it is essential, if the Green Belt is to fulfil its main purposes and provide 30 million of us with access to the benefits of the countryside, that the redevelopment of brownfield land is prioritised, and Green Belt protection strengthened.’
There is currently enough brownfield land in England to accommodate more than 1 million homes [5].
CPRE urges the government and local authorities to ensure that this is redeveloped before any more greenfield land is released from the Green Belt. Local authorities with Green Belt land have enough brownfield land for over 720,000 homes, the report finds, much of which is in areas with a high need for housing and existing infrastructure [6].
In addition to a push for a genuine ‘brownfield first’ approach to development, CPRE are also calling on the government to:

  • retain its commitment to protect the Green Belt by establishing long-term boundaries
  • halt speculative development in the Green Belt
  • develop clear guidance for local authorities on housing requirements to protect designated land
  • support the creation of new Green Belts where local authorities have established a clear need for them

St Andrew’s Church on Bedford Street in Crewe has a new Curate

St Andrew’s Church on Bedford Street in Crewe has a new Curate, the Reverend Catherine Cleghorn.

Catherine will be based at the church for the next two to three years and brings a wealth of gifts to her ministry, as well as being able to play the ukulele!

Catherine was welcomed to St Andrew’s Church at a Morning Service on Sunday 29th July 2018, following her ordination at Chester Cathedral by the Bishop of Chester on 22nd July. Priest-in-Charge of St Andrew’s Church, Reverend Lynne Cullens presented Catherine with a bouquet and a card by the Churchwardens, Marta Jones and Alan Hurst, who welcomed her on behalf of the parochial church council (PCC) and congregation. Also present at the service was the Mayor of Crewe, Councillor Brian Roberts and Cheshire East Councillor Jill Rhodes.

Catherine will be part of the core team leading the St Andrew’s holiday fun and food scheme, The Lunch Stop, as well as spending time meeting with members of the church and wider community.

Rev Lynne Cullens said “We are delighted to welcome Catherine to serve her curacy both in our parish and with Rev Jane Colley at All Saints and St Peter’s. Catherine is a teacher by profession and a gifted musician. She has a keen interest in youth ministry which will be a key focus for her here in the months ahead. We are very much looking forward to her contribution to our mission here in central Crewe”.

l-r Rev Lynne Cullens and Rev Catherine Cleghorn with parishioners at St Andrews Church Morning Service

MP’s out of touch

Patients in a permanent vegetative state will now be allowed to die by withdrawing food and water. This is barbaric & uncivilised. If you let a pet die like that, you would be rightly locked up. If the patient has reached the end of their life, they should be allowed to die by lethal injection, not by depriving them of food and water.

That would be the humane thing to do.

Most Brits would agree with this.

80% of the British public agree that a person with a terminal and painful illness from which they will die, should be allowed assistance to die.

Despite this MPs will not vote for this change in the law.

It is yet another example of where the MPs are out of touch with their constituents.

Yours faithfully.

Cllr. Brian Silvester

For Britain Party

Chairman 'For Cheshire'

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Tractor Ted Rolls into Tatton Park


bringing all the fun of the farm… and more!

(Tatton Park, Knutsford, WA16 6SG)

(12noon-3pm)

Tractor Ted, the UK’s favourite little green tractor, will be rolling into Tatton Park bringing his unique blend of real life farm fun to local families, as part of his summer tour around the country.

Making a special guest appearance, for one day only, Tractor Ted on Tour

is an exciting day out for all the family… an event not be missed by any little farm fans!

Tatton Park will be hosting a specially created Tractor Ted area which is certain to keep children entertained for hours – yet can still fit in the back of a van!…

The larger-than life, giant inflatable Tractor Ted Bouncy Castle, will get little ones bouncing, climbing and sliding, while the Digger Den lets them play at being a farmer by scooping balls with their toy diggers. The whole family can compete in a game of Welly Wanging, to see who can score the most points – as well as an Activity Trail to explore and discover some fun farm facts and a Life-sized Jigsaw to get everyone puzzling!

The fun starts at (12noon) and runs until (3pm)

For more information on Tractor Ted check out:

www.tractorted.com

ABOUT TRACTOR TED

Tractor Ted, the UK’s favourite little green tractor, was born back in 2002, when Alexandra Heard, mum of three young children, found them fascinated by real life tractors.

Realising that there was nothing available that showed farming machines working on the farm, Alexandra met up with her childhood friend, David Horler who had his own working farm. Together they created Tractor Ted, a children’s farming character who captivates, entertains and educates young children with his exciting stories of real life farm adventures and discovery.

The series of films and books take children on a wonderful journey into the British countryside, where they can learn about big machines, how to look after animals, where our food comes from and the seasons.

Tractor Ted is with children every step of the way, encouraging them and always making sure everything turns out well. From this incredibly popular series has come an entire Tractor Ted world for pre-school children, including books, gifts, clothing, homeware, live events and visitor attractions.

Tractor Ted is loved by a range of celebrities including Kate Humble, Clare Balding and Ben Fogle who says:

I love watching Tractor Ted with my son and daughter – it makes for great family viewing. Even living in a city, as we do, it connects us with the countryside and rural life, which is very important.”

ABOUT

About Tatton Park

Tatton Park is managed and financed by Cheshire East Council on behalf of the National Trust. This impressive historic estate receives in the region of 800,000 visitors every year all of whom come to enjoy its neo-classical Mansion, medieval Old Hall, award-winning Gardens and working Farm. The 1,000-acre deer park is home to red and fallow deer and the estate also boasts speciality shops, an adventure playground, restaurants and a year-round events programme. www.tattonpark.org.uk

LOCAL BROTHERS FUNDRAISING FOR HOSPITALS CHARITY APPEAL EXCEEDS TARGET


Local Crewe brothers Stuart and Alan Mackay walked from Edinburgh to Leighton Hospital in Crewe to raise money for Mid Cheshire Hospitals ‘Everybody Knows Somebody’ dementia appeal.

Stuart and Alan have been long distance walking for four years. Starting in 2014 with an idea to walk The West Highland Way, they have pushed themselves every year to continue to the very top of the country, before deciding to go back to the beginning and walk the other way.

Their ‘Walk N Boots’ challenge took place at the beginning of April over three weeks and covered over 400 miles. They exceeded their original target of £1000 with a final total raised of £2478.64.

Alan Mackay, who also works at Leighton Hospital said: ‘We would like to thank everyone who supported us with our grand adventure and we are delighted to exceed our target.’

Carole Salmon, Community Fundraiser for Mid Cheshire Hospitals Charity added ‘A massive well done to Stuart and Alan. Their drive and enthusiasm for their fundraising has been inspirational. The donated money will benefit our Dementia Appeal so big thanks to all involved’

To find out more about Mid Cheshire Hospitals Charity dementia appeal and how you can be involved, contact Carole Salmon, Community Fundraiser on 01270 273248.


Stuart & Alan

Fake goods dealer told – ‘pay up or face jail’


A dealer in fake designer goods brought to justice by Cheshire East Council has been told by a court to hand over £5,000 or face jail.

Tracey Bell, 53, who owns and runs Alsager Tanning Studio, in Station Road, Alsager, sold counterfeit designer goods with an estimated genuine value of £100,000.

Items included designer label jewellery and watches, phone accessories, make-up, bags and clothing, footwear, perfume, sunglasses and headphones. The fake goods were labelled under exclusive marques including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Beats.

Goods were acquired during a test purchase operation conducted by Cheshire East Council officers, who found counterfeit items on display in the studio. Further counterfeit goods were found on the premises as well as counterfeit items being offered for sale online via Facebook.

Chester Crown Court, sitting last September, imposed a four-week prison sentence for each of four offences, to serve concurrently, suspended for 12 months and also imposed a six-month supervision order. 

Cheshire East trading standards, which brought the prosecution, subsequently launched a financial investigation which led to a proceeds of crime confiscation hearing at Chester Crown Court last week (20 July 2018).

Bell, of Rode Heath, was given three months to pay a total of £5,220.74 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or face a default sentence of three months in prison.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East’s cabinet member responsible for communities, said: “Although buying a fake designer handbag, watch or sunglasses might be seen as a ‘victimless’ way to get something desirable on the cheap, the money made from the trade in these types of goods is often used to fund significant criminal activity and impacts genuine business. Such goods are also often unsafe and pose a significant safety risk.

“Cheshire East Council is acutely aware of the destructive effect that organised crime can have in communities, aware too that illicit trade is often a significant funding stream for these groups. We welcome intelligence provided from the local community – as such information is the lifeblood of enforcement, protecting consumers and legitimate business across Cheshire East.

“While our trading standards team will continue to do everything in its power to prosecute and recover the profits made by organised criminals, people across Cheshire East should also be aware of the ways in which they can assist in cutting off this funding at source.”

For more information on consumer safety, trading standards and to report suspicious or fraudulent activity, visit the council’s website at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/tradingstandards

Or ring the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506.

Council to give free tendering training to boost local businesses


Cheshire East Council is to hold another series of free workshops to help business people learn how to win public sector contracts.

The procurement training events will be provided by the council’s arms-length Skills and Growth Company and are targeted at local businesses in Cheshire East.

The latest free workshop is being provided to help smaller businesses in Cheshire East learn how to win public sector contracts.

The public sector is a massive market opportunity. By 2020 government hopes to award 33 per cent of their procurement budget to smaller businesses out of a total UK public sector spend of around £200 billion a year.

Cheshire East Council alone spends around £260m annually on contracts, supplies and services with third parties. Winning a public sector contract can help your business to grow.

The next workshop is taking place on 26 September 2018, from 9.30am to 5pm at Macclesfield College, Park Lane, Cheshire, SK11 8LF.

Future workshops are planned for December 2018 and March 2019.

The September workshop will show small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) from Cheshire East how public sector procurement works, the different frameworks in public sector contracts, how to identify the best opportunities and how to write a winning bid. The workshop is suitable for businesses new to the tendering process or looking to improve how they tender.

The one-day workshop aims to cover the whole process from start to finish, focusing on three key areas:

● Find – Looking for tendering opportunities;

● Bid – Practical bid management skills; and

● Win – Ways to ensure the bid submission is a winning one.

The interactive session will help SMEs to:

● Understand public sector procurement processes;

● Represent their financial position;

● Identify their strengths, weaknesses and selling points;

● Utilise techniques that make the bid process efficient and effective;

● Quickly build up a knowledge base of procurement processes; and

● ‘Punch above your weight’ when participating in procurement processes.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for finance and communications, said: “Tendering for a public sector contract can seem a pretty daunting prospect and these free workshops provide excellent, practical guidance to help businesses develop their bids and make them a success.

“Cheshire East is always interested in receiving tenders from local organisations and businesses and these free workshops can significantly help to demystify and simplify the process.

“The council is keen to support local firms and businesses and works to ensure as many of our quality services as possible are provided locally, while continuing to deliver excellent value for money for the people of Cheshire East. It is important as the council spends around £260m of public money annually on contracts, supplies and services with third parties.”

Breakfast, lunch and refreshments will be provided. Breakfast and registration is at 9.30am for a prompt 10am start. The session finishes at 5pm.

To book a place on this training workshop, visit: www.skillsandgrowthportal.co.uk

Or email: info@skillsandgrowth.co.uk

Paperless permit policy secures digital award for council


Cheshire East Council’s drive to reduce the use of paper has seen the authority scoop a national award.

The council’s waste permit scheme, which is accessible from the council’s website, was put forward as an example of how the council is embracing the digital age by cutting down on the use of paper, both for the authority and residents.

The council has won an award for the’ best small scale digital application/project’ in the 2018 public sector paperless awards in Manchester.

On average, the council processed more than 10,000 waste permit applications a year and 60,000 permits were printed and posted for residents requiring special permits for using the council’s household waste recycling centres.

A waste permit is required by anyone using a commercial vehicle or car with trailer. 

In the financial year 2016/17, the council processed 6,845 applications online and 3,551 by phone, with a further 900 calls to process a change of address, vehicle registration or a general enquiry, usually resulting in the printing of a fresh permit to be posted out.

Through its innovative digital customer services project, residents were able to apply for a permit online and present proof of a permit at a household recycling centre using a mobile phone, tablet or laptop.

In the first three months after the digital system went live, in November 2017, 9,036 waste permit applications were processed, 93 per cent of them online – an increase of 26 per cent – and 97 per cent of permits were distributed via email rather than by post. 

Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member responsible for customer services, said: “In the brief time this new system has been operating, we estimate this will save £36,000 per year in paper costs, postage and officer time, and so the potential for greater economies across the council is tremendous.

“As a customer-focused council, we want to provide a better experience when residents and businesses use council services online – an experience that matches many of the other digital services and tools our residents will use each day.

“Delivering new and improved digital services will deliver significant financial benefits to the council – and to council taxpayers – in the long term.

“We realise we have a big task ahead in terms of transforming other services – but this is a step in the right direction.”

Cheshire East Council established its digital customer services project to embrace the digital age and to enable customer contact across all services to be primarily delivered through digital channels.

Many residents and businesses expect to be able to access services, products and information 24/7, through mobile phones, tablets, ipads or their desktop PC.

The project established a number of digital design principles to drive the design and development of the council’s digital services.  These included:

· Customer focus – technology to address specific user needs;

· Excellent user experience – comparable to sector-leading digital content and service providers;

· End-to-end digital service – a 100 per cent digital service target and

· Access for all – assisted digital support provided for customers who need extra support.

Working in partnership with Ansa – the council’s wholly-owned environmental services company – the digital team identified an opportunity with the waste permits process that could cut down on admin, paper and printing costs and deliver digital waste permits to a customer’s mobile device for presenting at the council’s recycling centres.

The system also enabled spontaneous mobile application and response. A customer arriving at a household waste recycling centre without a permit can apply for a permit on arrival, using their mobile device.

A number of other features, including barcode recognition, were embedded into the mobile app, to enable the whole operation to run smoothly.

New powers to tackle rogue landlords unveiled


Private sector landlords operating in Cheshire East are being warned of tough new penalties to crack down on poor housing standards.

Cheshire East Council has amended its housing enforcement policy to include new powers, which could see the most serious offenders banned from letting properties altogether or entered on to a national database of rogue landlords.

In addition, landlords will have to ensure their properties comply with a minimum energy efficiency standard or face a fine of up to £5,000.

These new powers add to the enforcement options already available to the council, which include civil penalties of up to £30,000 and rent repayment orders for certain housing offences – both of which were added to the policy in August 2017.

Since last year, the council has issued fines totalling almost £25,000 against five landlords, all of whom had failed to apply for a licence for a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “There are many responsible private landlords in Cheshire East, who offer well-managed accommodation that is of a good standard, helping to ensure the welfare of tenants.

“Disappointingly, though, there are a small number who either do not understand their legal responsibilities when providing housing or deliberately ignore their duties.

“This council is committed to challenging poor-quality housing and will proactively work with landlords to improve standards, where they fall short.

“But, where landlords fail to take the necessary action, we will make full use of the enforcement options available to us.”

The updated housing enforcement policy now includes a guide for landlords of HMOs, outlining the amenities, property and management standards expected of them and details a stronger ‘fit and proper person’ test.

It also includes the revised definition of HMOs that require a licence. From 1 October, all HMOs where there are five or more occupants – living in two or more separate households – must be licensed.

Cllr Arnold said: “Operating without a licence is a criminal offence and landlords could face an unlimited fine. That is why we are urging landlords of HMOs, who have not already done so, to apply for one as soon as possible by visiting: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/hmo

“As it’s important that we know the location of all HMOs in Cheshire East, so that they can be checked to ensure they are being properly managed, we are also urging people to tell us about properties in their local communities that they believe are HMOs.”

To let the council know about a suspected HMO, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/hmo and fill in the online form. Details of HMOs that are already licensed can be found by selecting the ‘register of licensed houses in multiple occupation’ tab.