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Published on: Tuesday March 28, 2017

If I’m honest, I haven’t given enough time to updating this blog and I am sorry about that, but we have been busy. So, what have we been up to? Well quite a bit I think:

  • Reporting – we report and follow up issues with street cleansing, highways maintenance, street lighting, anti-social behaviour and drainage with Cheshire East Council
  • We are installing Defibrilators in the town centre
  • We work with community groups to help them access funding, services and build partnerships to punch above ours and their weights
  • We work closely with allotment groups prior to transfer and will be investing in the allotments, empowering the allotment societies to more actively manage their sites.
  • We maintain a close partnership with the larger authority and its subsidiaries (ANSA, Orbitas etc)
  • We invest in public arts – displays at the Grosvenor and the touring ADP display and event
  • We invest time and money in local community groups to progress their individual aspects of community enrichment, such as Artspace and Barnaby
  • We have an ongoing discourse with Cheshire East Council with regard to local service delivery and the potential transfer of assets, services and  responsibilities
  • There is a significant governance responsibility which leads to practical interventions, such as the recently adopted banner policy, seeking to reduce the number of commercial banners littering the highways
  • Regarding local planning issues, we are a second line of consultation, taking an active role in larger and more challenging planning issues, such as the Kings consultation, barracks Mill and the Local Plan
  • The council is taking a proactive stance supporting the regeneration of the town, specifically seeking to progress the feasibility of a BID for the town centre.
  • One of our early successes was the increase and focused investment in the floral displays in the town, which continue to have a positive impact on the public realm.
  • Our influence, such that it is, is growing and stretches to some extent beyond our boundaries as we work in partnership with our neighbouring small local councils.
  • We have, thanks to Cllr Neil Puttick, delivered the very well received Brick Project at the Park Lane underpass
  • We fund the larger third sector agencies in Macclesfield and continue to encourage their ongoing sustainability (eg CAB, Make it Macclesfield, DIB, Barnaby, Silk Heritage Trust, Macclesfield MAC, Live at Home)
  • We fund and take an active interest in the CCTV provision in Macclesfield
  • The Town Council has taken bold and positive moves when delivering and enhancing the town centre Christmas Lights provision and the very well attended switch on events
  • Our civic function has grown and developed to include a Mayor’s Cadet, taking a leading part in the acts of remembrance, provision of Civic events, the introduction of the Town Crier and the Civic Awards
  • We give numerous talks to community groups through the year as a means of engagement and the opportunity to identify new projects, sustainable solutions for community facilities and services and building partnerships.
  • The council has been able to directly influence conservation projects
  • Concerns relating to local services have been progressed and represented at numerous local and national consultations, such as the removal of the Magistrates and County Courts, the re-categorising of the Children’s centres, boundary commission consultation, Hospital services
  • We have recently taken a lead on providing a sustainable approach to the delivery of community events in Macclesfield, following the changes to the enforcement of temporary road closures for community events. These  changes meant that the costs of road closures would prevent most events from taking place. We have invested in the community, training volunteers from the Rotary, Barnaby, Artspace and Macclesfield Council staff to be authorised to enact temporary road closures for community events, therefore removing the vast majority of the cost restrictions on these events.
  • The council has also been able to react quickly to opportunities, such as the tour of Britain, for which we took a cost effective and low impact approach, aiming to make us visible from the air
  • We have taken on a community facility (Weston Community Centre) which was significantly underused and financially unsustainable and worked in partnership with the third sector to deliver a building that is being refurbished and will soon be in far greater use.
  • We are working on new projects for local infrastructure investment, such as electric car charging points on council car parks
  • We have invested in community equipment – gazebos, PA, generator and road closure signage
  • Taken a lead on the development and delivery of events – Cycle Saturday (July 2017), Annual Pancake Race, ABF Pipe & Drum (June 2017), St George’s Day (April 2017) as well as others.
  • We provide advice to community groups and the public, such as The Potato Riot, Macclesfield Garden festival and third sector engagement projects
  • Each year we provide community grants, this year to 25 community groups and charities with a total grants budget of £65,000
  • We work with town centre businesses, keeping them informed of the projects coming to the town centre, events being planned and building relationships with key town centre stakeholders (large retail, businesses and Grosvenor Centre)
  • We seek to promote tourism and have recently rejuvenated (with much thanks to Cllr Adam Schofeld) the Heritage Trail, printed and distributed 2000 copies and we are looking at other ways to enhance the suite of visitor information.
  • Recently we have resolved to find an innovative partnership approach to working with CEC visitor services to seek to ensure this service in the town centre for years to come.
  • There has been an ongoing and developing relationship and partnership with the local policing team, which will see us investing in local policing in Macclesfield
  • We planted trees for the Queen’s 90th birthday and Councillors also took part in the clean for the Queen initiative.
  • We have had an active engagement with schools and young people, giving talks, arranging tours of the Town hall and Mayoral visits
  • With regard to the Senior Citizens hall, we took an active part in discussions with CEC to link them with third sector groups who might be able to offer the facility a sustainable future and we have expressed the importance of retaining this facility as a town asset
  • We maintain a very efficient operating model, for example maintaining low staffing numbers and meeting financial reporting requirements, IT and professional support (HR & H&S) through negotiated contractors with external service providers.
  • We are looking to invest in the towns parks and play areas, working in partnership with ANSA and augmenting the current provision
  • This year we will be investing in youth activities and summer schools as well as promoting active lifestyles, providing opportunities for activity and linking these to promoting Macclesfield
  • Councillors have organised and hosted surgeries at the Treacle Market
  • We seek to find a sustainable solution for the future provision of accessible public toilets in the town centre
  • Provision of the new Town Entry Signs
  • Reviewing and potentially adopting the tree of light event
  • The introduction of the Youth Summit (30/3/17)
  • Maintaining and developing communications through traditional and social media as well as developing mailing lists
  • We are looking at improving the public realm/street furniture offer in Macclesfield and now have a project investment fund which members will be asked to consider how it will be used.
  • As well as this, on a day to day basis, we advise and direct multiple resident queries and complaints on much broader issues than we directly provide, we fulfil to the highest standards of audit and financial responsibilities, meet with the community, community groups and residents through the community engagement work and enhance and develop the civic function, pride and services
Churchside Sunrise
Churchside Sunrise

It has not taken long to drum up this list and I am sure there are some things I have missed off, but hopefully you will be able to take away some aspects from this and maybe come up with proposals for areas of work you would like us to take a more active role in.

Remember this council is young (established in May 2015), started from scratch and has had a lot of establishment work to do in its first year. Please also remember that Macclesfield Council is also very small (2 full time staff and one part time), has councillors who volunteer their time (none of our councillors are paid and so fit council work in with their busy professional and community work) and we have a budget that is about 1/1000 to size of the larger unitary authority. In spite of this, we will always work as hard as we can for Macclesfield and welcome your comments, suggestions, viewpoints, insights and ambitions, so please always feel free to keep in contact with us in whatever way you can.

Macclesfield is a great town and with your support we think we can keep it that way and maybe even help to enhance it.