Agenda item

Leader's and Deputy Leader's Announcements

To receive such announcements as may be made by the Leader and Deputy Leader.




The Leader, in summary:


1          reported that the Council had re-signed the Cheshire Armed Forces Covenant and was working towards the gold employer recognition award, having been awarded the bronze award in 2020 and silver award in 2022. He thanked Councillor A Farrall for his work as the Council’s Armed Forces Champion.


2          reported that he would be attending and speaking at the Cheshire East ‘Achieving Net Zero’ conference at Reaseheath College. The event provided an opportunity to promote the commitment to make the entire Borough carbon neutral by 2045. The Council had set an ambitious target of being carbon neutral by 2025 with the Carbon Neutral Action Plan setting out the details on how this target would be achieved. He thanked Councillor Q Abel for his work as the Council’s Environment and Climate Change Champion.


4          reported that this month was LGTB History Month and that the rainbow flag would be flying at Council offices.


5          stated that at the coming weekend the Ukrainian Flag would be flying at Council offices to mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He thanked all those who had opened their homes to Ukrainians seeking refuge from the war.


6          referred to the earthquake in Turkey and Syria and reported that the Government had match funded £5m of donations to the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal. In response to a question at the Corporate Policy Committee, he reported that any donations made now would not be match funded by the Government.


7          reported that due to the significant budgetary challenges facing the Council, it would not be able to allocate the same level of funding to support community events to mark the King’s Coronation as it had for previous celebrations. However, officers were exploring the option of waiving the costs associated with road closures for events during the Coronation Bank Holiday weekend and details would be announced in due course.


8          reported on the Town Centre Vitality Plans, which had been developed by Council officers, Town Councils, local stakeholders, and external expert advisors. The Plans set out an agreed set of priority actions for each town centre and asked that the Plans were used to enhance and protect the town centres.


9          reported that a grant scheme was being introduced in Crewe to enable businesses to take on vacant commercial premises in the town centre. It was hoped the scheme would reduce the number of vacant premises and also create new jobs, strengthen the mix of businesses and increase the footfall into the town centre.


10        made reference to the fact that this was the last Council meeting before the elections and thanked all those councillors who were not seeking re-election for their service to their communities. 


The Deputy Leader, in summary:


1          provided an update on HS2 Hybrid Bill and that the Select Committee had been formed and heard opening statements from HS2 Ltd in January and the initial forward plan of petition hearings had been announced. The Select Committee would be hearing petitioners on a geographical basis, from the southern end of the proposed scheme to the north. This meant the Council would be the first petitioner heard and had been allocated the 13and 14 March for its hearing. Select Committee was always considered the last resort for a petition and Council officers were currently negotiating with HS2 Ltd to seek a package of assurances that would address the key concerns raised in the Council’s petition. If the package offered by HS2 Ltd was not considered adequate, the Council would look to present the issues to the Select Committee in March to seek appropriate assurances directly from the Committee.


2          reported on the progress with Northwest Crewe Highway Package. The two new junctions on the A530 Middlewich Road were now substantially complete and the road had reopened. Work would now move to the northern end of the A530, with further phases of traffic management to allow construction of the junctions and the scheme remains on programme to fully open in early 2024.


3          reported that on Friday 3 March he would be attending a ceremony to open the Poynton Relief Road for pedestrians and cyclists to explore in a traffic free environment until it opened to all traffic on the following Monday. He thanked the Highways Team and the contractor, Graham, for delivering the project and the people of Poynton, Woodford and Bramhall for their patience and tolerance during the construction work.


4          reported on the Mill Street Corridor project in Crewe, which was a £2.8m Towns Fund project that aimed to deliver a new sustainable and public realm corridor from the town centre to Crewe Station and future HS2 hub. Funding for the scheme would all come from the Crewe Towns Fund and there was no requirement for match funding from the Council. The Mill Street Corridor would connect to other Towns Fund projects including Crewe Pocket Parks & Public Open Spaces Improvement Programme and the Valley Brook Green Corridor Project.


5          reported that the Council had been developing plans for a scheme to improve cycle links between Wilmslow and Handforth by delivering improvements to pedestrian crossing points and the provision of a two-kilometre segregated cycle lane to support active travel. The Council would be bidding to Active Travel England for £2m of capital investment supported by local developer funding to enable the new project to be constructed, which had been identified in the Walking and Cycling Improvement Plan. The outcome of the bid was expected by the middle of March.