plan thrown out
by David Skentelbery
A CONTROVERSIAL plan to open a new restaurant on the site of the former Lloyds TSB bank at Culcheth has been thrown out by members of Warrington’s development control committee.
The committee decided the scheme would have a damaging impact on the residential amenity of people living nearby – and would create serious parking problems in the village.
Photographs showing parking and traffic congestion problems in the area, taken by Coun Sue Bland (pictured), were shown to committee members when they considered the application.
Officers had recommended the plan be approved – but the committee decided to reject their advice.
Culcheth and Glazebury Parish Council and 17 nearby residents had lodged objections.
After the hearing, local councillor Keith Bland said: “I am highly delighted. We already have 14 establishments serving food in Culcheth and have reached saturation point.
“No parking places were being provided – they were relying on using other people’s car parks.
“Residents of Newsholme Close would have been badly affected and worked very hard to get their point of view over.”
Planning consent already exists for residential accommodation on the site.
But Coun Bland said: “There is no problem with this. It will not have the same impact on parking and traffic.”
Town is ready for
by John Hendon
WARRINGTON’S police chief says the foundations are already in place in the town for the Home Secretary’s new plan for local policing.
Mr Blunkett has published a five year plan which sets out how his department will bring the police closer to the communities it serves to reduce crime, be tough on offenders and tackle drugs.
According to the Home Secretary, the aim of a further 15 per cent reduction in crime nationally over five years will be achieved through neighbourhood policing teams – local police officers, working local beats, solving local issues.
Divisional police commander Supt Julia Clayton(pictured) said: “The foundations for community focused policing already exist here in Warrington. In 2002 we introduced Community Action Teams (CATs) and we have since incorporated Community Support Officers (CSOs) into those teams to work together with police officers.
“The number of CAT officers has expanded since 2002 and in August there will be an additional inspector in charge of the teams. Brian Heywood will take over the role of inspector for Warrington (Inner) CAT while Insp Stuart Woodcock will have overall responsibility for the CATs in Risley, Stockton Heath and Sankey. This is further proof of our commitment, not only to providing locally based officers, but extra support at management level as well.
“Community Action Teams exist not only to reduce crime and disorder in each part of the borough, but to get to grips with their area by tackling the issues which really matter to local people such as graffiti and anti-social behaviour. By finding long term solutions to problems, officers can make a real difference to people’s quality of life.
“In addition, the public, both young and old, get to know who their local officers are and can contact them at the local police station, at the police surgeries, or while officers are out and about on patrol.”
Warrington Police is working effectively with its partner agencies and members of the public to drive down crime and disorder and to create safer communities.
Supt Clayton added: “We are already delivering community focused policing in Warrington in line with the Home Secretary’s plan for the future, but this is just the start. There is much more to be done if we are to work hand in hand with our community to make Warrington a safer place. We are hoping to establish local decision making groups during the coming year to build on the success of our existing police surgeries. These meetings would enable members of the public to have a say in how their community is policed.”
Top award for
by staff reporter
A CHEF from Grappenhall, near Warrington, has won a top award in the annual British Hospitality Association advanced modern apprentice competition.
Catherine Broadhurst, 25, junior sous chef at the De Vere Daresbury Park Hotel, Warrington, was the overall winner of the Chef Route in the contest.
Now in its sixth year, the competition aims to find and recognise the country’s future supervisors and managers.
Catherine has been working towards NVQ level 3 Hospitality Supervision and won the Chef Route following an intensive two-day assessment, during which the finalists had to undertake a series of individual and group activities. Other route occupations included reception, restaurant and pub.
She received her award at the British Hospitality Association’s annual luncheon, held at the Hilton Park Lane, London.
Mark Fuller, general manager at the De Vere Daresbury Park said: “This is a tremendous achievement for Catherine and for the hotel.
“We are always striving to achieve the best in quality and service. It is important therefore to ensure that our younger members of the team receive the necessary training to carry this quality and service forward. It is a real accolade for Catherine, our business and ultimately, a great benefit to our guests”.
Catherine said: “For a first visit to London this was a fantastic occasion. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute and I’m looking forward to putting my training into action.”
Library to close
by John Hendon
A WARRINGTON library is to close for nine days while improvements are carried out to the counter area and lighting.
Penketh Library will close at 5pm on Tuesday August 3 and re-open on Thursday August 12.
While it is closed, the opening hours of nearby Great Sankey Library, in Marina Avenue, will be extended.
On Monday and Thursday, the library will be open from 9.30am-1pm and 2pm-7pm while on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday it will open from 9.30am-1pm.
On Wednesday the library is closed all day.
Members of the public can contact Great Sankey Library on 01925 231451 during their normal opening hours but Penketh Library will not be contactable by telephone during the closure.
Books and other items can be renewed or returned at any Warrington Library during their opening hours.
During the closure period, all users will be able to borrow extra items and they will not be charged for overdue items.
Tourism champion’s boost
for local prosperity
by staff reporter
WARRINGTON’S new tourism champion has unveiled plans for a major drive to boost employment and increase prosperity within the tourism industry.
Chris Brown (pictured) has taken up his post as chief executive officer of the Cheshire and Warrington Tourism Board, launched earlier this year following a major shake-up of services designed to boost success within the sector.
Mr Brown joined CWTB from a senior role as director of operations with The Mersey Partnership where he had been director of tourism and director of operations.
He said: “This is a superb opportunity and I?m delighted to be involved in shaping the future of an industry that has already contributed so much to the prosperity of the Cheshire-Warrington sub-region,” he said.
“We intend to raise the bar on the area?s tourism-related aspirations. The untapped potential of the area?s tourism assets is tremendous and our role is to help realise that potential, boosting employment and delivering greater economic benefit to the sector and the region as a whole.
“I?m extremely encouraged by the initial response we?ve re
ceived and the numbers of individuals and organisations that have given us a vote of confidence through their membership of CWTB.
“We’ll be working more closely than ever before with operators, local authorities and other interests to develop initiatives that will increase the quality and choice of tourism experiences that are available to visitors.”
Mr Brown revealed that the blueprint for the future of tourism in Cheshire and Warrington is currently being developed and will be unveiled in the autumn. He emphasised: “We?re not here to add further bureaucracy or duplicate services. Our role is to fill the gaps, improve coordination and provide a common focus for all tourism interests.
“We want to drive forward the business by making the most of our superb attractions and facilities, and the commitment of those who run them.”
Welcoming the appointment, Chester Hospitality Association chairman John Laird commented: “Chris’ role is essential to the continuing development and success of tourism in Cheshire and Warrington. The association with its 70 members fully supports CWTB’s aims and we look forward to sharing in the benefits of its achievements in the future.”
CWTB is a private sector-led company with financial and partnership support from the North West Development Agency and the local authorities.
Bus company chief
is stepping down
by staff reporter
THE man credited with transforming Warrington’s bus company from a loss-making organisation into a vigorous award-winning transport undertaking is stepping down.
Les Taylor Duff has been chairman of Warrington Borough Transport for five years.
Coun John Joyce, leader of Warrington Borough Council said: “Les’s period as chairman has seen a remarkable turn-round in the fortunes of WBT.
“From a loss-making organisation with an ageing fleet, Les and his management team have produced a vigorous company with up-to-date vehicles and a host of awards for both staff and customer care.
“The commercial and business acumen of Les Taylor-Duff is very well known and respected throughout Warrington – and it is accompanied by his keen sense of social and community responsibility. These characteristics have combined to make Les an excellent chairman over the past five years.
“We would like to congratulate him on a job well done, express the thanks of all WBT’s staff and customers for his unique contribution and wish him all the very best for the future.
“We trust that the new board will build upon his achievements as we seek to develop the strategic role of public transport within the borough.”
The borough council is currently in the process of nominating its board members for the coming year.
Les Taylor Duff said: “I will be sorry to leave the company, because I have enjoyed the challenges of the last five years. I look back with pride on my achievements; bringing it from deficit into credit, increasing passenger numbers, investing in a fleet which is now less than seven years old and giving Warrington a modern, well maintained and safe public transport system.
“I have also overseen the company’s achievement of ‘Investors in People’. My remit was to bring good business acumen, sound leadership and strategic planning to the company.
“I would like to thank all the staff for their hard work, dedication and successful teamwork. I wish them every good fortune for the future.”
Planners to view
by David Skentelbery
PLANNING bosses are to visit a partly constructed apartment building which local residents claim flouts planning regulations.
Members of Warrington’s development control committee decided they should view the scheme, at the rear of Liverpool Road, Great Sankey after hearing of complaints from the local parish council and nearby residents.
Robert Foden Estates are seeking retrospective planning consent for the apartment block, which is near the Woodlands public house.
Outline consent was obtained in October 2002, but no details, such as the height or design of the building, were approved.
Full permission for a three-storey block was refused in July last year, mainly on the grounds of excessive bulk, massing and height.
But the building is now largely completed – along with a number of garages.
The committee was told that building has been moved about two metres further north from the position originally approved. Two single garages had been built instead of a double garage as originally intended.
In addition, a painted render had been applied to the external first floor walls. But the building had been constructed to dimensions identical to those originally approved.
Officers argued that the scheme had been reassessed in the light of the views of neighbours but it had been concluded there was no demonstrable harm which could be upheld at appeal to the character of the area nor to residential amenity.