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Local social spaces renamed

With thanks to Alsager Chronicle and Facebook

Alsager Radway Club has been refurbished and renamed Alsager Social Club, reflecting its broad role in our community.  And the Alsager Institute has been renamed Alsager Community Centre.  Both places are valued community facilities.

The snooker club, which has met at The Institute, for many years has now had to close since following the pandemic there are only four regular players.  However, they have been welcomed to Alsager Social Club to continue playing there.  Instead the space will be used for before and after school care for children.

And as a result, there are two snooker tables going begging if anyone wants them.

A third space is also being renamed.  Alsager Community Church coffee shop is now re-opening under the name The Meeting Place.

Cat and Fiddle

The Cat and Fiddle is an iconic inn on the Macclesfield to Buxton road, which has been closed for three years.  It is now open again as a distillery as well as hostelry and shop.  Here is the story, as taken from their website.

The Cat and Fiddle Inn has been owned by the Robinsons family for nearly 100 years. The family are passionate about supporting pubs and local communities but, despite having invested huge amounts into the building over the years, each successive landlord has found it harder and harder to operate a successful business there. As a simple pub, the trading figures simply don't justify the investment needed. A lot has changed over the last century and after a lot of careful thought and consideration the family reluctantly decided to close the doors of The Cat and Fiddle.

But that was not the end of the story. For the last 3 years, the Robinsons family have been working hard to find the right partner, with the right business plan, who will take The Cat and Fiddle into a sustainable and successful future. To do this and reach its full potential, it was clear that The Cat and Fiddle needed to operate as more than a pub.

It just so happens that The Forest Distillery is operating at capacity, and is in urgent need of a space to put barrels of freshly distilled spirit to "sleep" for a few years until it is ready to be enjoyed as English Single Malt Whisky. The Cat and Fiddle just happens to have an extensive network of cellars at 1600 feet above sea level with the most perfect conditions for whisky to mature... coincidence or fate?

We asked our friends, family, supporters and the local community for help to give this tale a happy ending. This iconic pub needed a major transformation to secure its future, including a new environmentally friendly sewage treatment plant and lots of other major refurbishment works, to breathe life into this legendary hidden gem. In November 2019, we ran a Crowdfunder which raised over £55,000 to assist us and Robinsons Brewery to attempt to re-open the Cat & Fiddle as Britain's highest altitude distillery.

If all goes according to plan, then The Cat and Fiddle (and Weasel) will open its doors as a shining jewel on top of the green hills above Macclesfield and Buxton.

Until we have commissioned the water, the electricity and a good roof, we cannot predict exactly what we will have there. However. the very basic bones of the plan are to:

  • Have an onsite shop with take-away food and drinks for your picnics.
  • House a Whisky Distillery with the finest cellars in the land.
  • Create a World-Class tourism site to attract people to our beautiful local area.
  • Generate employment opportunities for local people, with the added bonus of attracting investment and more visitors to the wider region.
  • And of course, The Cat and Fiddle, with roaring fires, good food, and the finest drinks for you and your family to enjoy in the years to come.


Now open.

Civic Cinema

Civic Cinema is back, now on a Sunday evening.  I think they are aiming for the last Sunday of the month.  The next two dates are 24 October and 21 November.  Films start at 7.00 pm and tickets cost £5.  The October film is The Courier starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  It is a historical spy film set in the 1960s.

Alsager Town Council consultation

From Facebook

The Town Council is about to initiate a consultation to determine residents' views and priorities on a number of projects which the council could undertake using funds received under the Community Infrastructure Levy (from developers).  The survey will be delivered to you, or you can complete it online  here.

Do you have spare apples?

With thanks to Alsager Chronicle

The Old Saw Mill in Congleton, for many years, has been using apple donations to make apple juice, cider and apple cider vinegar.  They are still collecting apples from this year's crop.  You can take your spare apples to the Old Saw Mill (there will be crates outside if they are not open).  It is located on Back River Street in Congleton.  They hope to produce 3,000 bottles of apple juice and 400 litres of cider this year.

Elmy statue in Congleton

With thanks to Alsager Chronicle

There has been a three-year campaign to erect a statue of Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy in Congleton town centre.  EWE was a pioneering women's rights campaigner who lived in Congleton for more than 50 years and ran a girls' school at Moody Hall.  Known as the "scourge of Parliament" she fought tirelessly for girls' education, and for women's right to own property and vote.  She was described by Emmeline Pankhurst as "the brains of the suffragist movement".

More than £60,000 has been raised for the statue, with Denise Coates topping up the fund so it hits its target.  The statue, to be in bronze, is nearly complete.  It has been designed by the sculptor Hazel Reeves who created the bronze statue Rise Up in Manchester depicting Emmeline Pankhurst.  The plan is for it to be unveiled on international women's day next year, Tuesday 8 March, by Baroness Hale of Richmond, the former president of the Supreme Court.  Congleton Town Council are still debating about the best site for the statue.

Incidentally, the new Congleton bypass has been named after her – Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy Way.

Award for ANSA

With thanks to Alsager Chronicle

ANSA, Cheshire East's waste and recycling service provider, was voted best service team for waste and recycling by the Association for Public Service Excellence.  This is a national award for local government frontline services.  Many people too easily complain about local government services, so it is good to see that our local service is standing up well during these difficult times and getting recognition.  Congratulations to ANSA.

Space for silence

With thanks to Alsager Chronicle

The Lovell Quinta Arboretum in Swettenham is the only location in Cheshire currently signed up to a national scheme that aims to create space for visitors to switch off from technology and enjoy the natural world around them.  The space is near the main entrance with two benches, and flowers in the spring.  The Silent Space is open from the beginning of March to the end of November.

Planning permission backlog

With thanks to Alsager Nub News

Cheshire East is experiencing a severe backlog in dealing with planning applications due to increased demand and staff recruitment problems.  Chief executive Lorraine O'Donnell said,  "This is a national issue, not just for Cheshire East. It's hard to recruit and retain planners.  It's been really difficult to get and keep hold of planners. They are being recruited into the private sector."  She has asked the public to be patient while they try to address the issue.

Car parking charges – winning the battle, not the war

With thanks to Alsager Chronicle

Although for now the issue of car park charges has been shelved, it is believed that Cheshire East Labour councillors are determined to bring the issue back because they want to ensure all towns are treated the same.  Heigh ho.  Watch this space.

Leighton Hospital plans

With thanks to Alsager Chronicle

The Mid Cheshire NHS Foundation Trust wants to replace the ageing Leighton Hospital with a state-of-the-art facility that would transform local healthcare.  They have now submitted a bid for £663m to the Department for Health and Social Care under the government's new hospital programme.  It is estimated that the cost would be about £100m less than the continued refurbishment of Leighton over the next 15 years.  A final decision is expected by next spring.

James Sumner, chief executive of the trust, says:  "Our vision for the new Leighton is for a carbon neutral facility that will play a vital role at the heart of the community and support the delivery of a new clinical model – a blueprint for providing care both in and out of hospital."

Murray Luckas, the trust's medical director, says:  "Our aim is to ensure that digital innovation is at the forefront of health services designed to tackle inequalities and meet the needs of a growing and ageing population."

School covid rates

With thanks to Alsager Chronicle and Alsager Nub News

According to the Cheshire East Director of Education, Jacky Forster, covid case rates in Cheshire East school children are much much higher than in the population as a whole.

Figures as follows for rolling rate per 100,000 (early October):

Whole population – 515
0-4 – 208
5-9 – 954
10-14 – 2,399
15-19 – 1,108

This equates to about 1,000 children being off school (400 primary, 600 secondary).  However, the rates across the area are very uneven.

Vaccination for 12-15 year olds has now started in two high schools, with take up being higher than expected.

As a result of the increase in cases, face masks in communal areas and reduced mixing in assemblies have been reintroduced in schools.

Covid 19 – Alsager East increases again

Sandbach and Alsager are particularly badly hit by the current wave of cases.

For the 7 days to 9 October (previous week in brackets):

Alsager East – 77 new cases, up 21, rolling rate 1,182 (was 875)
Alsager West – 66 new cases, down 15, rolling rate 1,111 (was 1,346) 

Cheshire East rolling rate is 586 (was 510), England is 376 (was 333).  

See map  here.

Sarah Anderson

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