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 he had taken on a new role as the Local Government Association representative at the Centre for Goverance and Scrutiny. He commended their work to Members, particularly the 10 Questions Guides which covered a range of topics such as cybersecurity, climate change and looked after children.


2               reported that the Ofsted Inspection had commenced on Monday 26 February and that the inspectors would be with the Council until Friday 8 March.


3               referred to climate change and the Council’s commitment to being carbon neutral by 2025 and highlighted the progress made towards the target, with the solar farm under construction, over 50,000 trees planted on council land, use of heat source pumps in Macclesfield Town Hall and the use of low energy light bulbs in street lighting. These were all saving money as well as reducing carbon emission.  He stated that it was a measure of the severity of the financial challenges faced by the Council that he has agreed that the target date be put back to 2027.


4               referred to the garden waste permit scheme and that the take up was exceeding expectations with nearly 70,000 households signed up.


5               referred to cybersecurity and an article in the LGA First magazine on the lessons learnt from the Gloucester City Council attached.  The initial breach of security had been a single spear phishing email that had been inserted into an existing email chain with a supplier.   Since reading the article he had been wary of using his private email address to any Council email address and asked people to be wary of any email purporting to be from him which was not from his official email address.   He asked if anybody clicked on a link that did not responds as expected to report this, as there were 2.7m attempted cyber-attacks on councils in 2022 and 90% of successful attacks were due to human error and that phishing was the most common form of attach.


The Deputy Leader, in summary:


1        reported that on the 4 March, the Council would be hosting both the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham and the Mayor of Liverpool, Steve Rotheram, alongside local and regional businesses, and political leaders at an event at Crewe Market Hall to demonstrate the importance of Crewe for the future of rail and the economic ambitions of the North West. He stated that with HS2 cancelled, it was more important than ever that the right level of investment at Crewe station and connectivity to/from and through Crewe was at the heart of current and future discussions about investment in the rail network north of Birmingham.   A selection of representatives of the local business community had been invited to the event where they would have the opportunity to raise questions and highlight how the cancellation of HS2 was impacting business confidence and investment decisions in Crewe and the asks that are needed of Government to remedy this.


2        reported that work had continued throughout the winter on the North West Crewe highway package which would greatly improve the highway network around Leighton Hospital and enable the delivery of key local plan housing sites. Progress had been affected by exceptional rainfall levels and some unexpected ground conditions. However, the roads were still expected to be open to traffic this summer. He thanked the local residents and travelling public for coping with the unavoidable disruption whilst the work was carried out.


3        reported that the Council had received notification that following an application to Government’s Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund, the Department for Transport had awarded £2.17million funding to support delivery of public EV charge-points across Cheshire East. The funding would enable the Council to partner with commercial charge point operators to provide EV points in many of the car parks, community facilities and at other hub sites. The aim is to ensure that the growing number of EV drivers have choices about where they can re-charge - reducing “charge point anxiety” for motorists.  Currently, Cheshire East had a low number of charge points compared to other areas, especially cities such as Manchester.   LEVI was a key part of the Council’s action plan for transition to net zero.


4        reported that he had chaired the quarterly meeting of Cheshire East’s Enhanced Partnership Board, which engaged with Bus Operators to deliver our Bus Service Improvement Plans.   The Board’s membership had recently been expanded to include all operators of public bus services in the Borough and it was good to see companies take up the opportunity to participate.  As part of the plan to invest in local bus services the aim was to ensure that funding on shelters, stops and passenger information complemented operator investment in new vehicles and driver training.  The key topics at the meeting were a commitment to refresh the Improvement Plan to demonstrate local priorities to Government; delivery of initiatives using current funding including enhancing Route 38 which links Crewe – Sandbach – Congleton and Macclesfield; plans to consult on a review of Council supported bus services this Summer and the future roll-out of smart ticketing on buses through Project Coral, a national initiative sponsored by DfT.


5        as this was his last announcements as Deputy Leader, he thanked elected members and officers for the support provided to him in this role.