Would you, or a group to which you belong, like to apply for money from the New Homes Bonus Fund?

newhomes

Cheshire East Council has set aside a total fund of £2 million from New Homes Bonus funds for residents of the Borough, £1 million in 2018/19 and £1 million in 2019/2020.

Cheshire East Councillors have been advised that the New Homes Bonus scheme will

"allow local people to engage with how services are delivered at a local level",

and that

"As new homes can impact on the services required in an area, the allocation of funding will reflect where new houses have been built, and where funding has subsequently been received through the New Homes Bonus."

The funds have been calculated for grouped areas, each area receiving a flat rate of £50,000, plus, a percentage of the New Homes Bonus money the Council has received from the Government for housing completions to October 2017 in each defined area.

For the Wilmslow, Handforth and Alderley Edge area this equates to an additional £36,731 giving a total amount available of £86,731 for 2018/19.

The money will be awarded to applicants following recommendations from the Award Group to the Portfolio Holder who will make the final decision. This area's Award Group will be made up of the 8 Cheshire East ward councillors who represent Wilmslow, Handforth and Alderley Edge, plus, a single representative for the three town and parish councils.

The first Award Group meeting is on 22nd October at which ward councillors are being asked to agree between 3 and 5 local priorities and we would like to hear from residents, and groups, what you think these should be.

Cheshire East Council's guiding key principles for the scheme are detailed below and Cheshire East Council will provide support to local communities to develop and implement spending plans.

Please contact your ward councillor and/or town or parish council to register your interest and request further information.

Key principles for fund scheme

  • Projects must demonstrate how they will enhance service delivery and provide tangible community benefits
  • Applicants must have appropriate governance in place (or have an agreement with their town/parish council that they will facilitate the scheme) 
  • Minimum allocation is £10,000 although funds may be pooled with neighbouring areas
  • Must demonstrate value for money 
  • Can fund new services or amendment/retention of existing services
  • Only to be used for activities which CEC has powers to undertake
  • Sustainable – no commitments beyond March 2020 – any unspent monies will be clawed back

Funds cannot be used for

  • Administration expenses that fall to town and parish councils
  • Retrospective projects
  • As a substitute for existing S106 funding
  • Used for parties, individuals, fundraising, political or religious activities
  • Result in a duplication of service provision

Link to Cheshire East Council's Policy on New Homes Bonus for full details of the scheme:

Guest post by Councillor Toni Fox – Independent (Residents of Wilmslow), Dean Row Ward, Wilmslow

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Manuel Golding
Friday 5th October 2018 at 4:49 pm
The immediate and most pressing issue in Wilmslow and one that needs prompt attention is the daily avalanche of commuters' car parking, blocking & obstructing so many roads and pavements around the town centre.
Some NHB money should be spent on creating out of town & or multi long stay car parks. To make these parking provisions viable, and ensuring long stay/day long stay parking places are used by the day long commuters, is to create restrictive parking on the town centre streets - limited stays for 1 to 2 hrs ONLY and Residents Only parking permit only streets.
Without such parking restrictions, commuters will park where ever the nearest point to their destination is and if its free on the road will obviously shun a pay park. Human nature!
Yellow lines strategy is a complete waste of money. It doesn't solve the problem (problem: Too many cars, no viable alternative parking facilities). It simply removes the problem to another area, thus creating the same problem but for different people. Result: Problem not solved.
Residents of Wilmslow have been imploring the council leadership to face up to the problem for the past 2 1/2 years or so,, to produce a responsible solution.
Result: Traffic & roads gridlock, nothing done or even suggested (beyond purchasing a further job lot of yellow paint!).
The council is always protesting it doesn't have the money (but we continually see it wasted on over paying inadequate senior managers, crazy, expensive & unworkable arms-length "companies", investigative police costs etc etc). It is not that the council doesn't have the money, its that it appears to prefer to waste money on mad cap schemes etc instead.

I must make mention of the CEC Independent Group's petition - "Are you fed up with how Cheshire East Council is run?"
If you want to change the ethos of this council please sign the petition for that change now, here - http://changecheshireeast.co.uk/

Read about the petition here - https://bit.ly/2Nib2x4

If you want a better run council, one that is responsive to its voters concerns, one that is prepared to battle for your concerns, vote Residents of Wilmslow (Independent) next May.
Roger Bagguley
Friday 5th October 2018 at 5:51 pm
A great post by Toni Fox, Independent RoW Ward Councillor, Dean Row. I am sure Toni will receive any ideas from all Wilmslow residents. It is not very often our Ward Councillors engage the public so let's take advantage of this. It would be good to hear that, as well as our Ward Councillors, WTC Councillors will have the final decision on how this money is spent. After all, New Homes Bonus comes with houses built in Wilmslow, is designed to bring some benefit to those neighbours of new housing developments so it is only reasonable that the final decision on how it is spent is down to Wilmslow people.

Well done Councillor Mark Goldsmith, RoW Independent WTC Councillor for his tenacious pursuit of this funding that hitherto has simply been absorbed into the CEC coffers. The amount allocated locally is not enough but a starter for ten.
David Jefferay
Saturday 6th October 2018 at 7:22 am
Roger, WTC Councillors won’t really have a say in the final decision on how this money is spent. Cheshire East in their wisdom has allowed just one town and parish council representative to be on the panel (to be clear that is one Cllr to represent Wilmslow, Alderley, Handforth, and Styal not one from each). That person has to liase with each of the councils and put forward the common view.
And here’s the best bit...that person doesn’t have voting rights on the panel so town and parish councils don’t really have any influence on the decision!
Pete Taylor
Saturday 6th October 2018 at 8:23 am
I’m just checking my dictionary for the meaning of the oft-touted words “open” and “transparent”. CEC must have their own version of the meanings.

Spending this money on a car-park (on the redundant Police Station site, cops could move into the over-sized Fire Station) makes perfect sense.

Has the Council Leader replied to any of the queries about where the money promised for parking a couple of years ago went? I ask in the interests of openness and transparency but as the Cabinet Member who promised it is suspended under Police investigation.... I suspect not.
Toni Fox
Saturday 6th October 2018 at 10:14 am
Parking in Wilmslow.

On 27th September I emailed the Cheshire East Council officer responsible for the current parking survey being undertaken in Wilmslow:

“Given the angst of a large number of Wilmslow residents, and the number of enquiries I am sure all ward members for Wilmslow are receiving on this matter, I would be grateful if you could let us have information detailing the work being undertaken on the parking survey.

In addition to how, and where, the survey is being conducted could you also please advise when you anticipate this will be completed and confirm that Wilmslow ward councillors will be invited to a meeting to review, and discuss, the findings from it.”

To date I have not received a response.

Similarly on the same day I sent an email to Rachel Bailey, the Leader of the Council, asking for her assistance with parking on Alderley Road:

“Dear Rachel,

At todays Area Highways Group meeting Highways officers informed that they had been to the assess the situation, acknowledged there is a serious issue with parking in this location, and that they have the evidence to demonstrate that it is severe enough to warrant yellow lines.

However, because of the current ban on new parking restrictions in Wilmslow, and the current ongoing parking survey, they are prevented from being able to start the necessary procedure to get this restriction in place.

Currently the earliest we can hope a restriction can be in place is mid to end November by which time the weather will have deteriorated, daylight hours will be less, and instances of minor RTA’s caused by this parking will have increased over and above those that have already occurred.

Is there anything you can do to assist in expediting a parking restriction at this location?”

I have not received a response to this either.

To compound matters Cabinet recently committed to undertake a Parking Review, as part of its Local Transport Strategy; however, it also has a Low Emissions Strategy which states:

“CEC parking standards will be strictly enforced. This means that parking spaces in principal towns and key service centres will be restricted. This will help to reduce the traffic impacts of new developments as far as possible.”

So it would appear that whatever the outcome of the Parking Review and whatever the feedback from residents, a decision to restrict parking provision has already been made.

Councillor Toni Fox - Independent
Dean Row ward
Nick Jones
Saturday 6th October 2018 at 11:04 am
Thanks Cllr Fox for the explanation. Transparency honesty and clarity goes a long way to gain public confidence. Sadly my ward cllr struggles with these principles. The paradox here then is that the current CEC incumbents have created the problems they now can’t address . Time for a change!
Pete Taylor
Saturday 6th October 2018 at 11:14 am
Perhaps the Conservative Ward Councillors might like to comment?
Jon Newell
Saturday 6th October 2018 at 12:42 pm
Re the Emisions point - sitting on Alderley Road with engine running while waiting to get through the log jam is far more polluting than parking somewhere within walking distance of the offices in Wilmslow town centre.
Manuel Golding
Saturday 6th October 2018 at 1:54 pm
ALL respondents to this particular article are of the very same opinion - this council's leadership, its relevant department's officers are all of the mindset, oe. they cannot care less than we see from the response to RoWs CE Dean Row ward councillor above (Cllr Toni Fox) and the non-response from the Leader to Cllr Fox's plea for help.
Which brings me again to the justification for the Independent group councillors' petition for a long overdue change at this extremely poorly led party dictatorship council. Go to the link below and please sign the petition for a better, open and transparent council leadership. Next May in Wilmslow, Vote Residents of Wilmslow for a independent led CE council that will ensure those oft ignored elements in the current council leadership's strategy, Openness and Transparency - Petition here - http://changecheshireeast.co.uk/
Martin Kitchin
Sunday 7th October 2018 at 7:07 am
Clr Toni Fox,

If only everybody was as straightforward and as transparent as you and your independent colleagues are then Cheshire East would be far better ran than it currently is.

Thank you for your tenacity and determination.
Rod Menlove
Monday 8th October 2018 at 9:21 am
Returning to the New Homes Bonus-
We have the NHB meeting for the 8 local CEC cllrs scheduled for 22 October. As I understand it, we will need to agree what the Local Priorities are at the meeting.

Under the Connected Communities programme, the Bollin Partnership has already engaged with local interests and agreed programme priorities for Wilmslow. These are to address the problems of
-social isolation/loneliness
-dementia
-mental health/anxiety in young people
-cyber awareness
As far as I can see these accord with the criteria set by CEC for the NHB but are not exclusive.

I emailed my co-councillors a week ago asking if they had any defined objectives that they could circulate so that we could all have time to consider and hopefully have a common view prior to the 22nd.
Pete Taylor
Monday 8th October 2018 at 3:09 pm
Cllr Menlove, thanks for commenting, it's rather a shame that none of your Conservative colleagues have come back to us.

Firstly, would it be possible for you.
to get the missing section inserted in Annex 1 of this document https://bit.ly/2OJf6LD there is no information on who the "Awards Group" are for Wilmslow, all the other six areas have a full list of names.

Secondly, you mention the Bollin (Neighbourhood?) Partnership https://bit.ly/2Plek4H presumably this group has made an application under this initiative for the NHB; can you tell us if any other local groups have applied and if so, who they are?


Thirdly, regarding the variable allocation element of the awards it says:
3.5. The annual Variable Allocation is £650,000. This to be split between each fund area based on net housing completions between 2011 and 2017.
Are we really sure that over 7.5 times as many houses were completed in Congleton than were completed in Wilmslow? £278,973 for Congleton against £36,731 for Wilmslow.

Fourthly, we seem to be at stage 3 shown on Annex 3: Awards Groups Agree Local Priorities (with local consultation). 3.8. In the first instance local Awards Groups will engage with their local communities to determine the priority activities to be funded from the allocated funds. Council officers will provide information and support to the Awards Groups where necessary.
Can you tell us what local consultation has taken place? As we do not know the names of the Awards Group (see my first point, above), it's hard to see if any consultation has taken place and with whom. As your meeting with fellow Councillors is scheduled for 12 days time, presumably you will be able to tell us how many applications have come in so far.


Finally, under Annex 5, example projects, the last one is "Road Safety Improvements"; we clearly have a major road safety issue with dangerous parking on the main road through the town; (I'd be prepared to wager this is the single biggest issue of discussion at the moment). Will that item be on the agenda?

I look forward to your answer on each of the above points and thanks again for taking the time to engage with your electorate.
Manuel Golding
Monday 8th October 2018 at 4:30 pm
Ah yes, the New Homes Bonus. Would this be the NHB that the councillor is referring to, the one that was hidden from all outside the ruling group on CE? The NHB that RoWs Councillor Mark Goldsmith (WTC-East Ward) uncovered and researched? The one he confronted the CEC leader on the 11th October last year at a RoWs meeting with her to ask about Wilmslow's NHB money? Surprise would not be a fair description of the Leader's reaction to this question. Mark stated that based on the number of new homes approved by this council over a given period, Wilmslow should be in receipt of over a few £million.
Oh dear! They hadn't made any allocation for the local communities across the borough. Where have the monies the council had previously received gone to?
We were told we will ONLY have some money from sometime after our revelatory meeting, The earlier money was used elsewhere to shore up budget holes I would guess.
So what are we getting? Around £86000 to be shared between Wlm, Handforth & A.E.
And to add further intrigue, we now hear of a group called Bollin Partnership which has, we are told, "...already engaged with local interests and agreed programme priorities for Wilmslow." Gosh! That's jolly decent of this Bollin Partnership.
So what is this Bollin Partnership?
What are its aims, other than telling Wilmslow folk how it will decide on the town's NHB spend?
Who is involved with the Bollin Partnership?
Does it already receive grants (council money)?
If so, how much, how often and for what purpose(s)?
What "interested parties" has it "engaged with"?
On what basis has it "agreed programming priorities for Wilmslow"?
These and many more questions beg to be asked before the town's residents are consulted fully to consider prioritising the spend of the meagre NHB money that is being "splashed out" in the locality.
Why are the priorities and concerns being restricted to just the 8 CEC councillors from Wlm, H'dforth & A.E.?
A final word for now, borough wide thanks are due to Cllr Mark Goldsmith and Residents of Wilmslow for finding and brinhing into the light of day the buried NHB treasure hidden away in the Westfields' "Treasure Island".
What say you, Jim lad?
Rod Menlove
Monday 8th October 2018 at 5:53 pm
Some answers

The Awards Group for Wilmslow is the 8 CEC local Cllrs.
The Bollin Partnership has not made an application and I have no knowledge of any applications. There has been a previous article on wilmslow. co.uk on the Bollin Partnership including participants and objectives so there is no mystery.
3.5 The level of new dwellings in Wilmslow in 2011-2017 is low compared to other areas as is obvious when driving around CEC.
We do know the names of the Award Group (see above) and you would need to ask them what if any consultation they have undertaken.
At the meeting on 22 October any of the 8 Cllrs can put forward proposed priorities that can include road safety.

On individual local matters when one Conservative Councillor takes the lead that is on behalf of all co-councillors. Duplication of statements serves no useful purpose.
Manuel Golding
Monday 8th October 2018 at 11:10 pm
Thanks for the answers to the Bollin Partnership query, Cllr Menlove.
Alan Brough
Tuesday 9th October 2018 at 4:01 pm
In case anyone wants to know more about the good work they do, the correct title of the organisation is The Bollin Valley Partnership.

I would very much hope that the eight Councillors charged with the responsibility of spending this money on our behalf might offer up an opportunity (perhaps on this very forum) for sensible suggestions and discussion on what WE would like to spend OUR money on.
Rod Menlove
Tuesday 9th October 2018 at 4:30 pm
The voluntary group to which I was referring has adopted the name 'The Bollin Partnership' so we are talking about different organisations.
The more applications to the NHB monies the better. The procedure is on the CEC website and is clear and has to be followed as the sole means of applying.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 8:06 am
Cllr Menlove, may I refer you back to the link I posted above https://bit.ly/2Plek4H
is this the group you are referring to?

I arrived at that page by putting "Bollin Partnership" into the search bar on the CEC website. Having looked at the web page, I'm non the wiser about who "they" are, other than that it is some sort of CEC initiative.


Would you agree that it was, perhaps, not the best choice of name for a CEC initiative, given that CEC, at Macc Town Hall, is already home to the Bollin Valley Partnership, which has been in existence for 40 years? https://bit.ly/2ORjYyr

I would be obliged if you answer any more of the points I made earlier.
Rod Menlove
Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 9:18 am
Mr Taylor
As I said above, the Bollin Partnership is part of the Connected Communities initiative and as a group we are content with the name.
The other points to which you refer are I believe answered in the previous posts. If you disagree then please be highly specific and I will try to find the answers.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 10:29 am
Cllr Menlove, thanks, the penny has finally dropped!

Your partner, is Chair of the Wilmslow Partnership https://bit.ly/2yfCxTr which is part of the Bollin Partnership https://bit.ly/2Plek4H

"As I said above, the Bollin Partnership is part of the Connected Communities initiative and as a group WE are content with the name."

Should we take that statement as a declaration of interest?
Alan Brough
Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 1:16 pm
Mr Menlove,

I do hope you'll forgive my confusion over the name of the organisation. I typed the name into a well known search engine and whilst there was plenty of information on the excellent work carried out by The Bollin Valley Partnership, there was no reference whatsoever to your organisation and so I assumed (perhaps cruelly) that you were mistaken again.

On reflection I have to agree with Mr Taylor that the similar names of the organisations is confusing and a cynic might say that The BP could be seeking to gain advantage from the excellent work done by The BVP

You go on to say that the application procedure is available on the CEC website and that the process is clear and has to be followed as the sole means of applying. I have to say that at this point my heart sank because I have a morbid fear of the gobbledy-gook and committee-speak that tries to pass itself off as information on the CEC website. However, Lisa has very kindly included a link in the above piece and so I was spared the problem of trying to find this particular needle within the CEC haystack.

Imagine my surprise and joy when I came across the following.......

"3.8. In the first instance local Awards Groups will engage with their local communities to determine the priority activities to be funded from the allocated funds."

So, as I suggested earlier, perhaps the local councillors making up the Award Group could hold some form of Public Consultation - either via this forum or at a Public Meeting so that we might engage and discuss before decisions are finally made.
Toni Fox
Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 2:09 pm
Dear Mr Brough,

As the lone Independent, Residents of Wilmslow, Cheshire East ward councillor it is for the very reasons that you state that I asked Lisa to kindly upload this article onto Wilmslow.co.uk - so that at least some residents and groups would hear about the scheme.

Unfortunately, despite asking the Portfolio Holder to extend the time constraints set for this first year of funding to allow us, and Town and Parish Councils, adequate time to consult with residents my request was refused.

The Award Group do however have the option of carrying over the funds from the first year to the second but not, as I understand it, the option to defer agreeing the 3 - 5 local priorities which is obviously not very helpful.

I do not agree with the timescales, or the complicated scheme that has been devised, however this is the scheme that the Council, voted for by a Conservative majority, have agreed and therefore it is what we are stuck with for now.

Should there be a change in voting patterns at the next elections however and more Independent Councillors like myself, who believe residents views should be sought and just as importantly, listened to, are elected we may have the opportunity to review and revoke such decisions.

Councillor Toni Fox - Independent
Dean Row Ward, Wilmslow
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 3:39 pm
Like Mr Brough I found virtually no reference to The Bollin Partnership via an internet search.

Can anyone enlighten me as to who the Chair of the Bollin Partnership is please?
Rod Menlove
Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 4:18 pm
At the NHB briefing meeting that I attended all the Conservative Cllrs who spoke objected to the tight time scale. The only saving grace is that we have 2 years to have submissions agreed and completed. The involvement of Legal and Finance has resulted in over-complication but advice will be available to applicants. At the meeting of the 22nd we will agree local priorities and thereafter await submissions of activities. These will be in the public domain and I personally will welcome engagement and discussion. two posts of Monday give more details.
The above post from a fellow councillor is making points that are political as well as incorrect so I suggest we return to objectivity.
Mr Taylor is straying in to my personal life and all I will say is that the few people who do things for our community (rather than just comment) inevitably assist other organisations and initiatives.
Rod Menlove
Alan Brough
Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 7:22 pm
Mr Menlove,

I have no doubt that you are "inevitably assisting other organisations and initiatives," but in the absence of any clear benefit to the people of Wilmslow, Mr Taylor (and others) are entitled and indeed payment-bound to question the veracity of that assistance.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 7:49 pm
Cllr Menlove;
"Personal life"? You made this a personal issue on 28th February 2014. Can you remember what you did to myself, and approximately 50 more of your constituents on that day?

Puff and blow as much as you like; the internet is not your friend. You set wheels in motion that day which cannot now be stopped.
Rod Menlove
Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 8:52 pm
Mr Brough

This thread is about the NHB and you and others are digressing.
Please expand on your assertions and in particular explain what you mean by ‘payment bound to question the veracity of that assistance ‘.
Please tell us all what local voluntary organisations you contribute to for the benefit of Wilmslow.
Rod Menlove
Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 9:03 pm
Mr Taylor
We may both know what decision was made on 28/02/2014 but you should explain what relevance that has to your comments encroaching on my personal life.
Alan Brough
Thursday 11th October 2018 at 7:05 am
Mr Menlove,

We are bound by the fact that we pay taxes ("payment-bound") to question the value for money ("assistance") provided by you and other public servants. Did you think I meant something else?

Please explain in what way I'm digressing by wanting a public consultation on how NHB money is to be spent?

My voluntary work is a matter for me and the organisations involved, no one else.
Rod Menlove
Thursday 11th October 2018 at 9:21 am
Mr Brough
Apologies to others who may be reading this for repetition. The Awards Group comprising all local CEC councillors at the meeting of Monday 22nd will agree the Local Priorities. Local Organisations will then put in Applications and everyone will be able to see the Applications and will therefore know how the money is to be spent. The organisations to which you may or may not belong might wish to put in an Application and that would be welcome.
Alan Brough
Thursday 11th October 2018 at 1:46 pm
Mr Menlove,

Do you fail to see the anomoly in your latest post (above) with the directive (3.8) I quoted from the CEC website?

It’s a very important detail and one that I would urge you to consider carefully.
Rod Menlove
Friday 12th October 2018 at 10:12 am
Mr Brough
The NHB process requires us to agree local priorities on the 22nd and that is why I have sent the Bollin Partnership priorities to the other 7 councillors for consideration.
The NHB process also requires us to engage with local communities prior to agreeing local priorities and the two requirements are mutually incompatible.
To square this circle I now have the advice that the awards group may postpone the scheme to the second year and that is what I will suggest to my co-councillors if they do not have the same level of post-engagement priorities as the Bollin Partnership.
Alan Brough
Friday 12th October 2018 at 1:33 pm
Mr Menlove,

Thanks for this clarification. I agree that you are pretty much time-barred from fulfilling the requirements of the NHB process.

As I understand it, the NHB monies are to be used for the benefit of communities where the building of new homes has placed additional strains on local services and infrastructure.

My opinion (for what it's worth) is that the priorities identified by your Bollin Partnership are already subject to state funding - albeit arguably insufficient, and are, to a great extent, not issues that are influenced significantly by the building of new housing.

The main thrust of this thread and indeed several other threads is the adverse impact on Wilmslow's road and parking systems caused largely by local "development." I would say (with some degree of confidence) that IF a public meeting were to be convened to discuss and debate the critical needs of the town, a solution to the worsening parking problems would rank high on a list of pressing problems, not least because the situation has great potential to cause serious injury or worse if allowed to continue unchecked.

The cost of a real and lasting solution such as a multi-storey car park at Broadway Meadow or Sainsburys will far exceed the relatively small amount of money available through the NHB, but is it a starting point?
Pete Taylor
Friday 12th October 2018 at 2:38 pm
Did the Chair of the Bollin Partnership send their list of priorities to the Seven Councillors?

It’s good news that the award can be deferred; until after the next election.
Rod Menlove
Friday 12th October 2018 at 2:47 pm
Mr Brough
Prior to my involvement with the Bollin Partnership I might well have viewed the matter as you do. However, those closer to the problems are quite clear that dementia/loneliness and youth mental health/anxiety are significant and growing problems with underfunding from central government. Whether or not the priorities meet the NHB criteria will be decided by officers of CEC but they do meet Corporate Priorities Outcome 5 (empowering people to live independant, healthier and more fulfilling lives).
I have long advocated a multi-story car park at Broadway Meadow and will continue to work towards this. Using NHB funds here would fail one of the key principles - proposals must be self-sufficient and not generate unfunded commitments beyond the 2019/20 financial year.

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