Westminster Park Residents Association

Bringing our community alive

March 4, 2021
by Penny White
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PREPARATIONS FOR ALL PUPILS RETURNING TO SCHOOL

Additional measures put in place as schools prepare to welcome all pupils back
Cheshire West and Chester Council has been working closely with schools and colleges across the borough to prepare for all pupils returning to face-to-face learning from Monday 8 March.

The Government announced last week that all primary, secondary and special schools as well as colleges in England will welcome pupils back in to the classroom in the first stage of the national roadmap for easing restrictions in England.

All education providers in the borough will follow the latest Government guidance to ensure their premises are COVID-secure and all precautions are taken to reduce the transmission of the virus.

Secondary and college pupils will now be required to wear face coverings on school premises, where a social distance of two metres cannot be maintained, this will include in classrooms and communal areas.

Pupils in secondary schools and colleges will also be encouraged to take a rapid result COVID-19 test, called a lateral flow test, at their school as they return. Three tests will be done on the school or college premises, three to five days apart, and home testing kits will be provided to families to test twice weekly thereafter. Instructions about completing home testing will be provided to families.

Introducing testing for staff and pupils without symptoms will ensure that positive COVID-19 cases and their contacts are found early so they can self-isolate for the required 10 days. Alongside the additional measures in place in schools, testing will also help keep rates of COVID-19 low and stop the spread of the virus.

If you’re a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of staff or a pupil in primary or secondary school you can also get a twice-weekly rapid lateral flow test. You can collect two packs of home test kits at a local collection point, which are open daily from 1pm to 7pm. Households in England with people who attend or work in schools in Wales are also eligible to access these tests. Full details of where you an access a test can be found on the ‘Testing and Self-isolation’ section of the Government website: www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

The below additional measures are already in place in schools across the borough and will remain for this term.

All adults to wear a face covering when visiting or entering the school premises including outdoor yard areas.
Parents/carers to arrive and leave promptly when dropping off/collecting their child – please do not congregate and maintain social distancing as we know that the virus is easily transmitted from person to person.
In schools where it has been agreed that a parent/carer can enter the school premises for drop off and pick up, only one adult should enter.
Young people to avoid congregating outside school, mixing with pupils from other schools and go directly home.
Pupils travelling on mainstream home to school transport or those aged 11 years and over travelling on public transport must wear a face covering unless they are exempt. This includes pupils travelling on SEN transport.
Councillor Bob Cernik, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “The announcement by the Government that face-to-face teaching can resume is a welcome step in the right direction. Children and families have done a remarkable job learning from home supported by our schools and colleges.

“Our schools and colleges have robust risk assessments and have put all the precautionary measures in place to make their sites as COVID-secure as possible. We do need to remain cautious so please follow the latest guidance from your school when returning next week. It’s also very important to remember the basic rules outlined below.”

Please play your part to help stop the spread of the virus by keeping two metres apart as much as possible, wearing face coverings if you are in year seven or above, washing your hands regularly, walking or cycling to school if possible and following your school’s instructions for drop-off and pick-up times.

If you or your child has any COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) please self-isolate at home with your household and get a test by visiting: www.nhs.uk or calling 119.

From the 8 March the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme will be extended to assist parents and guardians whose child is required to self-isolate. This is restricted to one parent or guardian who are unable to work due to caring for a child who is required to self-isolate. For more details go to the ‘How to get help’ section on the Council website: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/covid.

March 4, 2021
by Penny White
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CENSUS DAY 2021

Working together to deliver a successful Census 2021
Cheshire West and Chester Council is working with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to deliver this year’s national census.

The 10-yearly survey, which launches later this month will help to shape the future of local services.

Households will begin receiving letters with online codes this week explaining how they can complete their online census.

Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said, “We urge everyone to complete their census form in writing or online because it a crucial way of ensuring that, in future, we can give the right support to the right people at the right time.

“Understanding the needs of the nation helps everyone from central government to local organisations, such as councils and health authorities, plan and fund public services across England and Wales. Census outputs inform where public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health.”

The census, taking place on 21 March 2021, will shed light on the needs of different groups and communities and the inequalities people experience.

It ensures that the big decisions facing the country following the coronavirus pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible.

Graham Povey has been appointed by ONS as the borough’s Census Engagement Manager. Graham said, “I feel very fortunate to help support the residents of Cheshire West and Chester. Alongside key departments within the Council, I am working with organisations, charities, faith groups and community leaders to help and encourage people to take part in the census and make a real difference in their community.”

All households will start to receive letters this week explaining how they can complete their online census with an online activation code. People can also request a paper questionnaire if they would prefer.

There is plenty of help available. You can complete the census over the phone with assistance from trained staff via the ONS’ freephone national contact centre on 0800 141 2021 or via the local census support centre on 0300 123 7728.

The ONS also provides in-person support to complete the census online through Census Support Centres where it is safe to do so. The main census field operation will begin only after Census Day, contacting those who have not responded. Field staff will never need to enter people’s houses; they will always be socially distanced, wear PPE and work in line with all government guidance. They will be operating in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit.

Census 2021 will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. For the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity. Results will be available in 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit census.gov.uk.

February 17, 2021
by Jennifer Crew
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Listening to the people of Chester – help to update the One City Plan

The One City Plan is a 15-year strategy created in 2012 to guide the future economic regeneration of Chester.

This plan defines the vision for the city, co-ordinating public and private investment and development activity in Chester city centre.  It also informed the Cheshire West & Chester Local Development Framework, the statutory planning document for the city.

Chester Growth Partnership is the guardian of the One City Plan, with responsibility for overseeing its progress.

Nine years on, Cheshire West & Chester Council has decided to review the plan and has commissioned independent group Good for Nothing to conduct a survey to find out how we use the city (and what we want to change).  This information will be used to help refresh the One City Plan.

You can complete the survey with no knowledge of the One City Plan but if you’re interested you can read it here>

This survey is about being positive and constructive.  You may not have visited the city at all last year, but as you complete this survey cast your mind back to times before Covid-19 and how you used the city then.

Here is the link to the survey:  www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MakeChester

It will take you between 15 – 20 minutes to complete.

February 16, 2021
by Penny White
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MINUTES OF WPRA COMMITTEE MEETING 3RD FEBRUARY 2021

WESTMINSTER PARK RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION

Committee meeting held on 3rd February 2021 on Zoom

MINUTES

Present: Jennifer Crew, Colin Dollimore, Sue Britton, Penny White, Dave Craggs, Brian Westcott, Olwen Bellis, Richard Short, Sandra Magilton, Annemarie Macfadyen, Pauline Brown, Karen Liddle, Tim Freeman-Dean.

Apologies: Carina Edwards, Tracey Casey.

1. Minutes of last meeting: the minutes of the last meeting held on 28th October 2020 were agreed as a true record by those who attended. Residents have asked that minutes of our meetings should be made public. We decided that members of WPRA would be permitted to see the minutes, with any sensitive items eg financial mattes redacted. Dave will see if it will be possible to have a ‘members’ zone’ on the website where we can post them, or a circulation list of members (current paid up 2021 members) we can email them to. We can also send out the notes of the meeting with the developers once this has been set up.

2. Treasurer’s Report: The Treasurer circulated a report and mentioned the move to online banking. The cost of planters and their maintenance was discussed and applications for funding from our Councillors’ funds.

3. Membership: The paid up membership as at 25/1 is 271. All Committee members have paid.
All those others, whose payments are outstanding have been reminded by E-Mail and this has stimulated a good response. Some have bounced back , so E-Mails have changed or shut down. Those without E-Mails listed will receive a letter as will new residents
My procedures are
i) I enter all payments onto a spreadsheet and pass copies to Sue Britton (with money collected) and David Craggs to update the portal. This is normally done weekly or more frequently if volume dictates.
ii) I also enter each payment onto spreadsheets per road and it is the intention once the bulk of memberships have renewed to canvass each road (when lockdown lifted) and will finish up with a meaningful databank and addition members.
iii) The Lache Park Avenue and surrounding roads have yielded an additional 25 members to date with plenty of scope for more.
iv) The new Wrexham Road development has been visited and maps obtained and will be canvassed later in the year.

As of 3 February, there are 310 members, 25 or more are from the Lache Park Avenue area. Colin has done some canvassing and finds asking people face to face brings results though this is difficult to do while the Covid lockdown is in place. We will be chasing up members who have dropped out last year in the March newsletter, Colin has spreadsheets of each street which would help anyone willing to assist with chasing up people. Various committee members offered to assist after lockdown has ended.

4. Social and Future Events: It is still impossible to make plans so we will not plan to have a Summer Fayre this year. There is talk of a Fun Day in the park on August Bank Holiday weekend in association with the Cricket Club which we can discuss again.

We will hold our AGM on Zoom on Wednesday 28th April at 8pm and try to run it so there is more community participation. The National Trust held theirs recently, and Annemarie said Niall had held the Archaeological Society one so will see what tips he can offer. The Council has an arrangement we might be able to make use of. There are some changes to be made to the Constitution which will need to be approved, eg including Lache Park Avenue etc in our area. Any business and committee members up for election needs to be advertised in advance, perhaps by one week beforehand rather than three, ie 21st April.

5. Wrexham Road Development/Kings Moat: Residents have been complaining about the noise from the pumping that has been going on 24 hours a day as there has been flooding recently. The Deve,oper’s Project Manager, our contact at the Developers, the Planning Officer at CWAC Planning and Environmental Health have been involved. The noise level is now being recorded and at a meeting of the Consortium today it was decided to place acoustic covering over the pumps to keep the noise down. Environmental Health is arranging a meeting with the Developers. The letter received from them today will be publicised via website and Facebook.

6. Winkwell Drive: The Planning Application is being put in, with no changes after the consultation on their Proposal in August, they obviously discounted our comments. Cheshire Wildlife is now looking at it. Residents have been contacting Karen. Does anyone have any photographs of flooding? We need someone to speak at the Planning meeting who objects to it. Only one person can speak, for three minutes and can only include matters that relate to the Chester Local Plan. Is there a flood risk problem? Being investigated; do we need more houses, we have already superseded the number of houses needed for the Local Plan.

7. CRAG: Pauline presented a revised Constitution. Jennifer and Pauline have been on the committee for about a year and have received information from them. This group consists of 17 or 18 Chester Residents Association and have now built a website and have very good communication with the Council which is useful and means we can speak collectively on matters relating to Chester. We paid an annual membership fee last year of £10 which is to be increased to £25 and Pauline asked if we would ratify that expense. We also need to ratify our affiliation at the AGM as our Constitution does not permit it.
Dave will email our members to let them know we are members and the constitution and position papers will be posted on our website.
This gives us more power as a RA in our dealings with the Council and we receive press releases we would not get otherwise. We can join with other city forums eg Chester Bid, Chester Growth Partnership and we will have a voice in the improvement of our city centre which will need a lot of help post Covid.
Karen expressed an interest in getting involved.

8. Newsletter/Media: the March newsletter is being produced and editorial is being requested. Sue has invoiced the advertisers who usually advertise on an annual basis. Adina continues to assist and Andrea Hopkinson has offered to help with the editing. Send copy in by 14th February.
Annemarie offered to write an article on birdwatching and planting at the park with photos.
Website: Adina has had a look at it and is quite keen and confident to update the information on it. It would be interesting to know how many people look at it. We will continue to reference the website when posting useful information, from Facebook. Dave said any more Admins would be welcome.
Facebook is up to 953 members and is very active, without much advertising now.

9. Evergreen: meetings have been suspended but the AGM is going ahead on Zoom on 18th February and there might be more activity on Zoom after that.

10. Gardening Club: still suspended.

11. AOB: Will the sunflower competition be repeated? Sandra will contact Julia Broadley to see if she (or anyone else) wants to start producing seedlings again, we can appeal for donations of pots, compost and/or help on Facebook if necessary. Something will be produced for the Newsletter.
Annemarie said there had been a plan to involve local children to plant seeds in the park which cannot now take place because of Covid.

12. Next meeting: to be held on Zoom at 8pm on Wednesday 14th April, before the AGM and will cover items for the June Newsletter.

February 13, 2021
by Jennifer Crew
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WPRA membership of Chester Residents’ Association Group (CRAG)

Last year the Chester Residents’ Association Group was formed and WPRA joined on a trial basis.  The WPRA committee has agreed that we have benefited from our membership in terms of better communication and having a more influential voice in the plans for our city.  In order for us to become permanent members of CRAG, our constitution requires that to allow affiliation to another organisation we must seek majority approval at a general meeting; this will be an item on our agenda at our AGM on Wednesday 28 April.

To give you a bit more information about CRAG, here is the description taken from their recently launched website: www.crag.uk

“Chester Residents’ Associations Group (CRAG) is an umbrella community organisation based in the historic city of Chester in Cheshire, UK.  Formed in 2019, CRAG comprises of over 20 residents’ groups from within – and nearby – the city walls. We welcome new members, because our voice and influence are stronger together.
Our mission? To make Chester an even better place to live, work and visit. We aim to do this through active citizenship and positive partnership.
Working with local stakeholders, CRAG is developing strategies and proposals to help address the top five issues identified by our members:-
  • Communication
  • Homelessness and anti-social behaviour
  • Traffic management and parking
  • Public realm
  • One City Plan”

Attached to this post is a copy of the CRAG constitution.  I would be interested to receive any comments about our proposed membership prior to our AGM.  I shall shortly also be posting CRAG’s position papers on the five issues above for members’ comments.

Jennifer Crew

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February 8, 2021
by Penny White
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HELP FOR FAMILIES AT HALF TERM

Support for families over February half term
As lockdown restrictions continue, Cheshire West and Chester Council is highlighting the range of support available to families over the upcoming February half-term week.

The Council is working with partners, including the Welcome Network, to support children and families throughout the borough.

A full list of all the support available to families during the half-term can be found on the Council website.

Useful resources for the half term (cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/halftermsupport)
Details about the Winter Grant Scheme payments are included on the webpage. This scheme is still available for families and individuals who have been struggling throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to get help with essentials, such as the cost of food, fuel and water bills over the winter period, up until the end of March. Eligible families, who haven’t already applied for the funding, are encouraged to make an application online. Families only need to apply once for the Winter Grant Scheme. The one off, single payment will be made directly into their bank account.

The Winter Grant funding is also providing support through the Council’s Help in Emergencies for Local People (HELP) Scheme. This scheme provides urgent needs assistance to individuals and families in the borough.

Families can find out if they are eligible for these schemes on the Council website.

Food support for residents is available all year round, including during the school holidays, through the Council-backed Welcome Network.

Local community groups, currently providing food and support across the borough, have been mapped on the Welcome Network website, so that residents can access the information in one place.

The Welcome Network – get support (welcomenet.co.uk/get-support)

Steph Ellis, Manager of the Welcome Network, said: “It’s great to see communities coming together and supporting each other during these challenging times. There is a brilliant network of support available across the borough, not only in the school holidays but throughout the year too. The amazing people and groups involved in these local projects are committed to working together to help each other so no one in our communities goes hungry.

“The map on our website provides all the details for the groups providing support and we’re here to help anyone that may be struggling to find provision local to them.”

The Live Well Cheshire West website provides various resources about supporting children and young people during the lockdown including a section on mental health and wellbeing.

Live Well Cheshire West – Information for parents
Anyone struggling with their mental health can call the Cheshire West Mental Health Crisis Helpline on 0800 145 6485. This is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for adults, children and young people.

Councillor Bob Cernik, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “The restrictions put in place to help reduce the transmission rates of the Covid-19 virus have been difficult for many families. We want all our residents to know that there is a range of help available throughout the borough to support them at this challenging time. If you need some support, please get in contact.”

The Council’s library service will be posting some fun and creative recyclable crafts, as well as activities on their social media pages at 10.30am every weekday during half term. At 3pm every day, one of the librarians will also be reading a chapter from some of the library team’s favourite children’s books.

February 8, 2021
by Penny White
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COVID-19 VACCINATIONS AT CHESTER RACECOURSE

Covid-19 mass vaccination site to open in Chester
The first NHS large-scale COVID-19 mass vaccination centre in the borough is set to open at Chester Racecourse in mid-February.

This new mass vaccination centre will be able to deliver thousands of COVID-19 vaccines every week to residents across the borough in key priority groups as part of the national vaccination programme.

Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cllr Louise Gittins said “This is fantastic news and a positive move forward. Let’s all play our part in this process and get vaccinated when invited. This past year has been a huge struggle for many people, and we can all help to turn this around by getting vaccinated and playing our part in the fight against the virus.

“The offer from the Racecourse to use their facility is really appreciated and working in partnership in this way, brings with it support and skills that will be invaluable. It’s great to see the public sector working in partnership with a private sector organisation in such an important response to the pandemic.”

Chief Executive of Chester Race Company, Richard Thomas said “We were really keen to ensure that our local area could benefit from a mass vaccination centre and are very pleased to be able to support the NHS with their essential vaccination program.

“We plan to offer our facilities for seven days a week, apart from race days, and our staff are proud to have the opportunity to support as volunteers to help deliver the facility.”

The mass vaccination centre at Chester Racecourse will be by appointment only and staffed by clinicians, led by the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust, and a range of qualified volunteers and racecourse staff.

Other local NHS hospital trusts, GP practices and Pharmacies have established vaccination clinics across the borough to maximise the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination. The NHS will get in touch with residents when it is your turn to be vaccinated.

The Council will provide advice to people travelling to the Racecourse to receive a vaccination to ensure safe and convenient access by public transport, cycling, walking or by car.

To find out more about the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the borough, please visit https://www.cheshireccg.nhs.uk/news/news-stories/covid-19-vaccination-programme-what-you-need-to-know/

February 1, 2021
by Penny White
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FLOODING AT KINGS MOAT/ WREXHAM ROAD DEVELOPMENT

This response has been received from Taylor Woodrow to the Principal Planning Officer at CWAC after we raised the matters of flooding and noisy pumps:

As you quite rightly point out we have experienced some severe and prolonged weather which has created flooding issues across the whole of our area of operations. Particularly in Cheshire this is exacerbated by the sub-strata being predominantly heavy clay.

Both our area and that of Redrows, of construction are positively drained which will alleviate some of the water runoff. It would appear years of neglect to the ditch along the boundary have created an issue – we have cleared the ditch to ensure no water runoff from the field enters onto adjoining residents properties. As works progress and more positive drainage is installed the problem will ease further.

I will speak with Ian regarding the lines of communication and ensure acknowledgements to correspondence from the WPRA are issued. We are holding regular meetings with them and believe this is the ideal forum for concerns to be raised, addressed and relevant information disseminated.

I will also speak with the site teams regarding the generator / pumps and look at noise attenuation.

January 25, 2021
by Dave Craggs
1 Comment

Consultation – Waste Management Strategy

Good Afternoon Everyone

Cheshire West and Chester Council is asking residents to give their views on how it manages recycling and waste services in the recently launched Waste Management consultation. I attach a comprehensive document with further information.

The Council plans to produce a new Waste Management Strategy, which will shape how the Council delivers waste services over the next 10 years and covers a range of issues, including:

  1. Household waste and recycling services – comprehensive proposals are being consulted upon, with some radical alternative provision being discussed
  2. The way non-recycled waste is processed
  3. Green waste collection and possible charges to be introduced for this service
  4. Household Waste and Recycling Centre services

The eight-week consultation period started on 21 January 2021 and closes on 18 March 2021.

Residents can give their views by taking part online at: https://participatenow.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/waste-strategy-consultation

Residents’ comments can also be sent to the Council by the following methods:

  1. Email: wasteconsultationresidents@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
  2. Postal address: Waste Strategy Consultation, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Wyvern House, The Drumber, Winsford, CW7 1AH

The questionnaire is also available in accessible formats (alternative languages, braille) upon request.

Please disseminate this information amongst your networks as it is likely to be of considerable interest to residents

Take Care and Stay Safe.

Many Thanks

Best Wishes

Razia

Cllr Razia Daniels

Shadow Cabinet Member for Children and Families

Member of Cheshire Fire Authority

Equality & Diversity Member Champion for Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service

HANDBRIDGE PARK WARD

 

Home –  01244 312392

Mobile –  07481234411

https://www.facebook.com/CllrRaziaDaniels/

Twitter – @CllrRDaniels

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