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Friday, 21 February 2020

Off The Rails Classic Car Meet Up

Reporter Jonathan White

An ‘Off The Rails Classic Car Meet Up’ took place on Sunday 16th February 2020 at Crewe Heritage Centre on Vernon Way in Crewe.

Entry was free and the events are held monthly at Crewe Heritage Centre. All owners of classic and retro cars, vans, pickups and motorbikes are welcome to attend. Many members of the public also attended and enjoyed viewing the vehicles, which brought back many memories.

Classic and retro vehicles were on display outdoors and inside the Centre’s Exhibition Hall with car manufacturers including Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Jaguar, MG, Mini, Mustang, Oldsmobile, Saab, Triumph, TVR and Vauxhall, along with a collection of Crewe-built Whitby Morrison ice cream vans. Classic and retro motorbike manufacturers on display included FB, Ducati and Tomos.

Crewe Heritage Centre was open to visitors including its North Junction Signal Box with viewing area, model railway displays and layouts, shop and café; the Advanced Passenger Train; static locomotive displays and miniature railway rides.

Event organiser, Ken Smith, said: “This is our fifth ‘Off The Rails Classic Car Meet Up’ at Crewe Heritage Centre. We had around fifty vehicles here today and the number is increasing each month, with people travelling from all over the North-West. This week we also used the Exhibition Hall for the first time. The events are free admission to all and we welcome any classic and retro vehicle owners to future meet-ups. Crewe Heritage Centre facilities are also open to the public. We look forward to seeing you at our next monthly event.”

The next ‘Off The Rails Classic Car Meet Up’ is on Sunday 8th March 2020 (9am-3pm).

For further information please contact Ken Smith on Tel. 07854231071, search Coffee at the café on Facebook or via this link https://www.facebook.com/Coffee-at-the-cafe-707872242942015/ , or contact Crewe Heritage Centre http://creweheritagecentre.org/ .

Council seeks candidates for shareholder committee roles


Cheshire East Council is looking to recruit two residents to sit on a committee that helps govern three of its companies established to seek better value from service delivery.

The shareholder committee provides an independent and high-level focus on the performance and commissioning arrangements for Ansa environmental services, Orbitas bereavement services and Transport Service Solutions.

Councillor Steve Carter, chairman of the shareholder committee, said: “We are looking for two individuals with strong commercial acumen. We would welcome applications from people with experience in financial management, business development and growth and, ideally, an understanding of at least one of the sectors the companies operate in.

“Providing constructive challenge, as part of the committee, supports the council’s ambition for its group of companies to be innovative and income generating.”

The committee will meet about six times a year, in Sandbach, with each meeting taking approximately three hours. Candidates will be expected to serve for two years. 

Candidates interested in joining the committee must be residents of Cheshire East, should not be politically active and must be completely independent of any relationship with a councillor or any member of the three companies’ staff. The post is unpaid but very rewarding and appropriate expenses are reimbursed.

Please visit the council’s website at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/jobs_and_careers/volunteering_in_cheshire_east/co-opted-member-of-cheshire-east-councils-shareholder-committee.aspx

to apply or obtain further information about the committee. The closing date for applications is 13 March 2020.

Cheshire East and Storengy UK to run school solar panel competition


Cheshire East is partnering with a leading energy company to run a competition for local schools to win a solar panel package worth up to £10,000.      

Energy giant Storengy UK works with local partners to find solutions to tackle their carbon footprint by reducing the carbon content of the gas they store.

In their mission to lead the way to net zero carbon emissions, Storengy UK is running the competition for Cheshire East primary schools to win a solar panel package to provide them with green electricity.

The competition is for local school children to get creative and share their ideas on what they will do to combat the climate emergency, perhaps through changes in how they use energy for travelling, or in the home and at school, or coming up with ideas for new climate-friendly technologies which Storengy UK could develop.

Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “Cheshire East has set itself an ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2025 and we are committed to encouraging local businesses, residents and organisations to reduce their emissions. 

“By partnering with Storengy UK in this competition, we can engage our local primary schools in supporting us with this challenge and I look forward to seeing the ideas that our future generation come up with, as we work together to reduce our energy consumption.”

Michael Gibson, managing director of Storengy UK, said: “We are proud to be working with Cheshire East Council to provide a boost to the sustainability of our local schools. At Storengy UK, and as part of the wider Engie group, we are leading the energy transition to zero carbon.

“This means not only reducing our own carbon footprint but supporting our customers and local communities to reduce theirs. We are currently engaged in projects looking at the use of biogas and hydrogen to support the transition to a net zero future.

“But we need help to come up with new ideas and solutions. Working with Cheshire East Council we want to engage the scientists and engineers of tomorrow to show us their ideas. That’s why we are announcing a competition for Cheshire East schools to win a solar panel package worth up to £10,000.

“Give us your best ideas for sustainability and the winning entries will benefit from green solar electricity for their school. Be as creative as you can!”

The competition closing date is 3 April 2020. For more details and to view terms and conditions visit http://www.chesshub.co.uk/Article/71271.  Competition winners will be published on www.cheshireeast.gov.uk and at www.storengy.co.uk

Winter Wellbeing – be a good winter neighbour


Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.

This week, we urge residents to be good winter neighbours.

As the weather turns colder, neighbours who are older or have health problems may need your help and support.

They may not be able to go to the shops, attend hospital appointments or pick up prescriptions, making them vulnerable when the weather is particularly bad. This can also make them feel lonely and isolated - so please think about what you could do to help them.

Here are a few tips on how to be a good winter neighbour:

● Check on elderly or vulnerable members of the community to make sure they are safe and well;

● Make sure they have enough food and medicines to prevent them having to go out in very cold or icy weather and, if they don’t, pick up essentials for them when you’re out and about;

● Give them your telephone number, so they can contact you for help;

● Check their home is warm enough. Living rooms should be heated to 21C and bedrooms to 18C; and

● Keep drives and footpaths clear of snow and ice for your neighbours.

According to Age UK, more than two million people in England over the age of 75 live alone. Bad weather could result in someone who is usually sociable and active, becoming housebound and feeling alone. This can lead to depression and a serious decline in physical health and wellbeing.

Councillor Laura Jeuda, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “Checking in on friends, family members and neighbours this winter can make all the difference to them. A quick phone call or a knock at the door can prevent people from feeling lonely and helps to ease pressure on urgent and emergency health services at a critical time of the year.

“Cheshire East Council and its partners are also here to help throughout the year and there is a wealth of information and support available.”

Residents are also urged to be on the lookout for signs that something might be wrong with a neighbour, friend or vulnerable member of the community.

Warning signs include:

Milk still out on the doorstep late in the day;

● Newspapers and post stuck in the letterbox;

● Lights on during the day;

;

● A home in darkness, when there should be someone at home;

● A dog barking all day or the cat scratching to be let in; and

● Bins not put out on collection days.

More information and advice about the care and support available for adults in Cheshire East can be found by visiting: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell  and clicking on the associated tab. The resource directory will also help you find support in your local area.

For concerns about the welfare or safety of an adult, call 0300 123 5010
(8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Fridays) or call 0300 123 5022 at all other times, including bank holidays.

For further winter-related advice, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell and scroll down to the winter wellbeing section. Advice can also be found on the council’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/cheshireeastcouncil  and on Twitter at: @CheshireEast

Residents can help friends and neighbours, who do not have internet access, by downloading and printing off information from the website and giving it to them.

STATEMENT Royal Arcade update, Crewe


A Cheshire East spokesperson said: “Hoardings surrounding the Royal Arcade development site have been put up to prepare for building survey works. The hoardings will provide further information about the proposed development and a supplier will be selected in the coming weeks to add decorative boards. These will showcase temporary creative interventions by local artists and community groups, in partnership with the Crewe Cultural Forum.

“Demolition of the former commercial units, located off Queensway and Victoria Street, will begin later this year following satisfactory survey assessments. The site will be developed as part of a mixed-use, leisure-led development, including a state-of-the-art multi screen cinema, new bus station, multi-storey car park and retail units.”

William Warrack, Director of Cordwell Property Group, development managers for Peveril Securities, said: “This significant step of the hoardings enclosing the site is a real milestone on the scheme and a sure sign that progress has been made.”

Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “The Royal Arcade scheme is part of Crewe’s wider regeneration strategy. The hoardings will provide creative opportunities for regional talent, utilising the space whilst work is underway to develop the site.” 

Cheshire East budget boosts spending on key services and provides value for money for residents


Cheshire East Council has agreed a balanced budget to protect key frontline services and deliver value for money for residents.

A vote by full council on Thursday 20 February, backed several key financial reports that deliver a balanced budget for 2020-21. It protects key frontline services and delivers on the authority’s strategic priorities.

The council voted to spend an additional half a billion pounds on capital schemes over the next four years, including £257m on the local highway network. 

Of this, £185m relates to major projects (including the Congleton Link Road and Poynton Relief Road), £0.5m on car parking projects and £71m on other highway works, which includes £40m for improving the condition of the network.

In 2020/2021 the council will also increase spending on adult social care by around £8m (from £110m to £118m) to meet increasing demand and the growing number of older people and increase spending on education and protecting vulnerable and cared for children by £4m (up from £59m to £63m). We are also increasing spending on health, and the environment.

To support the increase in budgets, Council tax will increase by 3.99 per cent in 2020-21. A Band D property bill will rise from £1,446.27 to £1,503.98 – an increase of about £1 per week for an average household.

Importantly, two per cent of the tax rise is ringfenced to boost adult social care services for vulnerable and older people.

Following more than two months’ of public consultation, the council considered comments from a range of people and the overall budget was increased, specifically in children’s services, to reflect the feedback received.

Following consultation, the revenue budget will be balanced for 2020-21 with net revenue spending of £301m and total capital investment of £472m over the next four years.

Councillor Amanda Stott, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for finance, IT and communications, said: “Firstly I’d like to thank residents, staff, partners, businesses and all members for their feedback during the consultation period. I want to reassure people that we have listened and taken on board your many suggestions and comments.

“At the full council meeting, we have agreed how spending will be prioritised over the next year and what impact that will have on council tax. I am proud that this authority maintains its deserved reputation for financial prudence and delivering balanced budgets.

“Cheshire East, along with many other local authorities across the country, continues to experience a period of financial challenges, as we face a combination of rising costs and increasing demand for services – especially in adult social care and cared for children.

“While government provides some additional grants, the uncertainty over future funding remains a significant concern as we work to become a self-sustaining, financially independent council with a focused and robust business model that delivers real value for money to our residents.”

Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “The ability to deliver financial savings while maintaining services across the council is extremely challenging – for all local authorities. These financial reports and budget outline how this council continues to maintain sound finances in a tough economic climate and delivers real value for money services to our residents.

“Moreover, all major schemes in future will be shaped by a decisive and innovative policy around climate change. Our draft environmental strategy, to be finalised later this year, will ensure we have a real focus and joined-up approach. 

“Recent events, both locally and around the world, show us how seriously we need to adjust our way of life and here, at Cheshire East Council, we will be doing our bit to cut carbon emissions and steer the council towards a carbon-neutral position by 2025. The medium term financial strategy, approved at today’s council meeting, allocates more than £1.5m towards delivering the council’s environmental objectives.

“As a council, we are determined to deliver for local residents and to do everything we can to maintain Cheshire East as one of the best places in the North West to live, work, visit and do business.”

Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Our priorities will always be focused on our residents and the safeguarding and protection of our most vulnerable adults and children. More than 60 per cent of our revenue budget is spent on ‘people’ services.

“Alongside this, we will continue with our extensive programme to deliver sustainable economic growth, coupled with a significant infrastructure programme, including major highways schemes and the regeneration of Crewe and Macclesfield.”

Cheshire East Council is the third-largest unitary authority in the North West, delivering around 500 services and supporting more than 375,000 local residents with an annual turnover of more than £700m.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Council secures cash boost for homelessness and prevention work


Cheshire East Council has secured a cash boost of more than £400,000 for its strategy to help the borough’s rough sleepers. 

The council will receive £438,329.30 from a £112m funding pot as part of the government’s rough sleeping programme.

Working with charities and faith groups, the council will use the money to continue its drive to reduce the number of people sleeping on the streets by funding beds in various locations together with a pro-active team of support workers who actively encourage rough sleepers to use recognised accommodation.

Government funding received last year by the council enabled the authority to appoint a rough sleeping coordinator and build an outreach team to support rough sleepers, encouraging them to come in off the streets.

The team can also direct those in need towards emergency and longer-term accommodation. They also provide long-term help and advice, which can lead to more permanent accommodation and employment.

Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “This funding is a welcome injection of cash into a vital service to help and support people in genuine need.

“This further round of funding will help us to develop important work in prisons and in our hospitals where some of our rough sleepers can end up. We want to make sure they have somewhere to go when discharged back into society and prevent a ‘revolving door’ scenario – where people end up back on the streets, sleeping rough.

“We have managed to keep our numbers of rough sleepers in the borough fairly low but one rough sleeper is one too many. We are eager to tackle the harmful effects of homelessness through a proactive prevention programme, as these can have a severe impact on family life and on children as well as an individual’s mental health and wellbeing.”

The council is encouraging residents to report a rough sleeper by calling 0300 123 5017 so that they can be helped. In the year to March 2019, the council helped 129 homeless people on the streets into longer term accommodation and continued that success story with a further 97 successful outcomes later in the year.

Cheshire East to look at athletics track improvements


Cheshire East Council is to look at potential work to improve Crewe’s athletics track.

It follows a planned maintenance review of the Cumberland Arena track, which found a need for repairs if the site is to host future competition events.

Community use of the track is unaffected and the regular club nights hosted by Crewe and Nantwich Athletics Club will continue as normal.

However, the report found that the track requires some localised repairs to its base layer and is also due for a full resurface. This means the club will be unable to host competition meetings.

Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities, said: “The council will work to establish the full cost and impact of the necessary repairs, prior to a business case being presented to the council for its consideration.

“The track is still absolutely fine to be used by community groups and our local athletes for training. However, it is not up to the highest standards required by UK Athletics for competition use.”

The maintenance report was commissioned by Cheshire East as part of planning for budgeting.

The Cumberland Arena is owned by Cheshire East Council and operated by its partner, the independent health and wellbeing charity Everybody Sport and Recreation.

Death of Councillor Brian Roberts


Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “It is with sadness that I have to inform you of the death of Councillor Brian Roberts.

“Brian had served on Cheshire East Council since May 2015, as elected member for Crewe West. Brian will be sadly missed in our organisation and in the wider community.

“Brian was a tremendous advocate for the residents of Crewe West. As a ward councillor, he repeatedly raised concerns about fly-tipping and gulley emptying.

“Since being appointed Cheshire East Council cabinet member for highways and waste in May 2019 he took the opportunity to implement change to tackle these issues.

“It is great to see the impact his passion and hard work was having on the way the council deals with these issues. It is saddening that Brian will not be around to see the full effect of his work.”

As well as being cabinet member for highways and waste, Cllr Roberts also represented the council on the Transport for the North scrutiny committee and the Environment Agency (NW) regional flood and coastal committee, among other roles.

Cheshire East Health and Wellbeing Board’s boost for mental wellbeing


Cheshire East Health and Wellbeing Board has endorsed a strategy to boost mental wellbeing for people of all ages in the sub-region.

The board’s partners will work with the Cheshire and Warrington Public Sector Transformation Board to deliver on recommendations contained in the strategy, entitled ‘Heading in the right direction – An all-age mental wellbeing strategy for Cheshire, Warrington and Halton 2019-21’.

The health and wellbeing board has agreed to support the strategy and advance work to improve partner commissioning as part of sub-regional and local approaches to promoting good mental wellbeing.

The mental wellbeing strategy aims to focus on the promotion of positive mental wellbeing, and the prevention of mental health conditions, via early intervention. Key to this is support for people to protect and improve their own wellbeing and reduce risk factors for mental health problems.

Following extensive partnership work and engagement with stakeholders, the strategy identified five key objectives:

● Speaking up for mental wellbeing, challenging stigma and discrimination and promoting early self-care;

● Supporting more people with mental health issues in work and seeking to enter work;

● Promoting more places to live that are safe, stable and add to the quality of life’

● Having a more integrated approach to mental health support; and

● Improving the mental health of young people.

Councillor Jill Rhodes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for public health, said: “This is an important programme that will help to tackle issues that impact on mental health and wellbeing. The burden of mental ill-health is a significant problem across the country, so prevention is a vital element of efforts to tackle the issue.

“Our aim is to develop more effective ways to promote positive mental wellbeing across the population. This will also require targeted actions for those groups at more risk of poor mental health and effective early intervention for those who are struggling.

“With our partners, we have looked for promising approaches to achieve each of the five objectives and the draft strategy recommends a raft of proposals to help deliver this.”

The proposals, which form the strategy delivery plan, include:

● Promotion of the national Time to Change and Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters mental health programmes;

● A focus on providing early interventions;

● A mental wellbeing audit of housing, employment, community safety and regeneration schemes;

● Evaluation of how effective our community wellbeing schemes are at supporting those of all ages with mental health concerns;

● Enhanced strategic partnership working – such as with Cheshire and Mersey Public Health Network;

● Work to ensure the evidence base/data for the strategy is up to date.

Cllr Rhodes added: “We are better than the national average for all four of the measures for mental wellbeing: life satisfaction; felling life is worthwhile; happiness; and anxiety. But we cannot afford to be complacent as mental health issues are real and ever-present in our communities.

“Mental health is everyone’s business – individuals, families, employers, educators and communities all need to play their part. Good mental health and resilience are fundamental to our physical health, our relationships, our education, our training, our work and to achieving our potential.”

For information about mental health support visit the council’s website at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell/health-matters/health-conditions/mental-health/mental-health.aspx

Winter Wellbeing – nominated neighbour scheme


Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.

This week, we urge residents to consider joining the council’s trading standards’ ‘nominated neighbour’ scheme.

The nominated neighbour scheme has been developed to tackle bogus callers, rogue traders and other means of distraction thefts and burglaries.

The project enables people to be protected by someone they know and trust, such as a neighbour or relative.

The vulnerable person is given a card they hold up to a window or door, which advises any unidentified or unexpected caller to go to the address of a nominated neighbour or speak to them over the phone. This person will then check the caller’s identity.

If they are genuine, the nominated neighbour will return with them and supervise the visit to make sure that nothing untoward takes place and will remain there until the caller has left.

Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities, said: “This scheme helps people within our communities feel safer in dealing with unwanted or unexpected people who call at their homes. In turn, it protects our residents and reduces incidents of doorstep crime.

“When the nominated neighbour card is shown to the caller, it replaces any need for the occupant to speak with that person.

“A genuine caller will not mind following the instructions and we believe that no criminal, who preys on the elderly or vulnerable, would like this type of scrutiny.”

While it is older and vulnerable adults who are more at risk from becoming victims of doorstep crime, anyone can be targeted. That’s why all Cheshire East residents are urged to consider joining the scheme.

If you would like a nominated neighbour scheme pack sent to you, or to a vulnerable relative or resident of Cheshire East, contact the Citizen’s Advice consumer service on 03454 040506. By calling that number, you can also report problems with doorstep callers or traders.

For further winter wellbeing advice, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell and scroll down to the winter wellbeing section.

Advice can also be found on the council’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/cheshireeastcouncil and on Twitter at: @CheshireEast

Residents can help friends and neighbours, who do not have internet access, by downloading and printing off information from the website and giving it to them

Taxpayers targeted by car park thieves


Cheshire East Council is asking local people to remain vigilant and report suspicious behaviour on any of its car parks after a recent spate of thefts from pay-and-display machines.

More than 20 machines located in Macclesfield, Crewe, Nantwich and Congleton have been targeted in recent weeks. The council has notified Cheshire police about the thefts.

An estimated £15,000 has been stolen to date, with some of these thefts taking place in daytime. The damage to the machines is expected to cost more than £10,000 to repair.

Money received from parking machines is used to ensure car parks are safe, secure and well maintained and encourages a good turnaround of spaces for shoppers.

Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is a targeted crime against our tax-payers and we ask anyone using our car parks to be on the look out for suspicious behaviour.

“This is not a victimless crime. Not only has the car park money been stolen, it is also our tax-payers who have to pick up the bill to repair or replace these damaged machines.

“This diverts essential money away from other areas of the council, which is there to provide vital services to the most vulnerable people in our community.

“We apologise for the inconvenience these thefts are causing our car park users and we are working to repair or replace the machines as soon as possible. Motorists can still pay for their parking by using the other options displayed in the car park.”

Anyone that sees suspicious activity is strongly advised not to approach possible perpetrators and, instead, report concerns to Cheshire police on 101.

Damaged parking meters can be reported to the council by emailing: parkingenforcement@cheshireeast.gov.uk



Targeted machines so far include:

Macclesfield:
Waters Green
Duke Street
Christchurch
Gas Road
Christchurch
Jordangate
Whalley Hayes
Congleton:
West Street
Fairground
Park Street
Crewe:
Victoria Centre
Chester Street
Wrexham Terrace
Thomas Street
Lyceum Square
Railway Street
Nantwich:
Bowling Green
First Wood Street 
Love Lane
Dysart Buildings
Civic Hall
Market Area