Major new health
centre planned

by Lesley Wilkinson

PLANS are being drawn up for a major new health centre in Chapelford to allow expansion of primary health services for the west of Warrington.
This follows a series of public consultation meetings in the area.
The new centre, proposed by Warrington Primary Care Trust (PCT) will allow for the development of more specialist medical services in the future and should be open within two years.
Originally there were two proposals for the area but the PCT drew up a third after listening to the views of hundreds of local people.
Consultation centred on the development of a health centre in Chapelford, at the new urban village development.
Two original options were a small health centre to replace the current Chapelford Primary Care Centre on Burtonwood Road, which is in a temporary building, and a much larger health centre that could provide some specialist services to the whole of west Warrington.
The latter option included the centralisation of therapy services delivered in west Warrington - physiotherapy, podiatry (foot health), and speech and language therapy - in order to reduce waiting times and improve access.
Of the 606 people who responded, 66 per cent (399 people) said they would have to travel further, and 44 per cent (269 people) said travelling was a problem.
In light of this, the PCT has developed the third option to build a large health centre in Chapelford. But this third option does not include centralising therapy services at Chapelford, as put forward under the original proposals.
PCT chief executive Allison Cooke said: "We have listened to the views of people living in the area and have changed our plans in light of the very real problems people using services now would face if they had to travel to Chapelford.
"Because centralisation of therapy services could have such benefits for patient care, a trial centralisation of physiotherapy at Penketh, which has been done for operational reasons, will be evaluated. If successful, podiatry (foot health) and speech and language therapy could be centralised there too," she added.
Centralising therapy services would benefit patients by reducing waiting times and improving access, she added. Some practices in west Warrington do not have access to these services and people have to travel outside the area. Patients will be consulted during the trial.
Mike Howarth, chairman of Warrington Patient and Public Involvement Forum, an independent body representing patients' views, said: "The consultation process has been very good and the PCT has listen to all views. This compromise appears to be trying to accommodate everyone as well as looking to the needs of the future Chapelford population."

White van gang target
high value equipment

by David Skentelbery

POLICE have issued a warning about three men in a white van targeting homes with costly ride-on mowers and other expensive equipment.
The trio have struck twice in the Warrington area within the space of two weeks - and may have been thwarted in a third attempt.
Equipment worth many thousands of pounds was stolen.
In the most recent raid, a rare, bright yellow Gunn JCB ride-on mower worth £8,000 was stolen from a house at Croft - along with drilling equipment and builders' tools.
Householder Louise Swift arrived home just in time to see the white Ford Transit disappearing.
She said: "They had broken into our barn, using bolt-cutters. My husband is a builder and keeps his tools in the barn.
"The mower is very unusual and would stand out like a sore thumb if anybody started using it. But it was a very cheeky, daylight burglary."
Earlier three men using what is believed to be the same van raided at farm at Rixton, forcing electric gates, breaking into a garage and stealing a Countax ride-on tractor, Honda lawnmower and an air rifle.
The next day three men in the same van were seen in suspicious circumstances in Chatfield Drive, Birchwood. An unmarked police vehicle attempted to stop the vehicle but it was driven off at high speed.
PC Stuart Berry said: "We are warning people, particularly in the Warrington area, to be vigilant. If you own similar items, keep them locked up and make sure your property is marked.
"The three men are described as having the appearance of typical workmen, so I would appeal for anyone who sees anything suspicious, however small, to contact police immediately. I would also like to hear from anyone who may have been offered the stolen items."
Police believe the van is a stolen vehicle bearing false number plates.

Strictly successful students
by Lesley Wilkinson

STAR of television's Strictly Come Dancing Colin Jackson took time off from his ballroom training to celebrate with Warrington Collegiate students.
Colin, the 110 metre hurdles world record holder, met students Kirsten Warburton, Sade Simm and Yvonne Hands at the UK Skills Competition awards ceremony to mark excellence in vocational skills training, held at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall.
The Warrington students are all studying beauty and holistic therapy courses at the Winwick Road campus. Kirsten and Yvonne won silver medals and Sade a bronze award.
Colin said: "The students displayed a high level of commitment to their skill area and the motivation, dedication and energy needed to achieve their goal. From my experience, I have found that taking part in competitions is extremely satisfying and that the hard work invested is rewarded by a boost to morale and self esteem."

1,116 arrested
in six weeks

by staff reporter

ANOTHER 167 offenders were arrested in Warrington last week – bringing the total since the pre-Christmas “Crackdown on Crime” initiative started six weeks ago to 1,116.
Officers arrested people for a variety of offences including aggravated burglary, drink driving, assault and theft of a motor vehicle.
'Crackdown on Crime' is Cheshire Police's autumn and winter initiative aimed at putting more criminals behind bars.
Operations Manager for the Northern Area, Supt Gary Finchett, said: "Whilst Warrington Police are ‘Cracking Down’ on a wide variety of criminal activity, we are paying particular attention to motorists who put their own and others' lives at risk by getting behind the wheel whilst under the influence of alcohol, or drugs.
"We are proactively targeting these drivers and will continue to do so throughout the festive season."
A number of proactive operations are taking place to target offenders throughout the force area, including in Warrington.

250 fight plan for
hot food takeaway

by David Skentelbery

MORE than 250 people have lodged objections to a plan for a hot food takeaway shop at Fearnhead, Warrington.
They claim the development in Orchard Street would lead to increased traffic, noise, disturbance and anti-social behaviour.
Litter and cooking smells are also feared by nearby residents.
Local councillor Colin Oliver is backing the residents.
He said: “The road is not adequate to take more traffic and the risk of congestion and accidents will be increased.
“This is a quiet residential area and this development is far too close to properties and will generate noise, litter and smell. The proposal is detrimental to the amenities of the area.” Two similar proposals involving the same property have been rejected in the last 12 months.
Planning officers are recommending the scheme be approved. They say there is insufficient evidence to substantiate refusal of the plan on the grounds of an increase in anti-social behaviour.
They do not think there will be any significant increase in traffic and point out that the site has its own car park. The nearest houses are a “generous” distance away.

Embroidery workshop
scheme opposed

by staff reporter

A PLAN to convert a former community centre into an embroidery workshop has triggered objections from more than 120 people at Latchford, Warrington.
Residents say the site at the junction of Knutsford Road and Carol Street should remain in community use and that the proposed development could result in noise, increased traffic and general disturbance affecting the use of the adjoining St Hilda’s Mission church.
The scheme is due to be considered by Warrington’s development control committee tonight.
Local councillor Ted Finnegan is opposing the plan. He says new businesses should not be built in residential areas but in more appropriate locations such as the nearby Palatine Industrial Estate.
He said: “The development of this site would remove an opportunity to make provision for a community facility which would serve an area where parts of that community have specific needs.
“The development and our inability to make such provisions run counter to corporate policies relating to social inclusion and community well-being.”
Residents claim there is a lack of local indoor community facilities and an opportunity should be given for local councillors and the community to explore the scope for the provision of such a facility on the site.
Planning officers are recommending the scheme be approved. They say the development would be in line with national and local policy relating to small scale developments and the re-use of urban land.

Man killed, woman injured
in motor cycle crash

by staff reporter

POLICE have not yet revealed any details of a motor cyclist killed when his machine was in collision with a heavy lorry at Burtonwood, near Warrington.
The man is believed to have died at the scene in Burtonwood Road. His woman pillion passenger was seriously injured and was taken to Warrington Hospital where she is still detained.
Police say the motor cyclist was travelling in the direction of Warrington when his machine was in collision with the lorry, travelling in the opposite direction. The lorry driver is understood to have escaped unhurt.