THE scare that all the hard work that
has been put into Nantwich's Riverside might be lost because of
spending cuts by the new Cheshire East Council seems to have gone
away. That's because a new organisation has been set up with the
hope of taking over
the work - with the same Project Leader.
The three-year Nantwich
Riverside Project has just come to an end. It had been "funded
externally" (that is, not by the new local authority) but the new
administration for this half of Cheshire decided it couldn't replace
the money which had been stopped.
Just after I had read of
the axe falling, in The Nantwich Chronicle (January 27), I received
news about Greenspaces South Cheshire which will shortly become a CIC (that's "a Community
Interest Company") which could save the day. They haven't got
the money either but are appealing to bodies which have in order to finance
Jeff Stubbs (Chairman of
Nantwich Civic Society) was alarmed at the news of the funding axe
and went along to "an informal meeting of similarly concerned
locals" only to find himself Chairman of Greenspaces.
He later told me: "At
present, Greenspaces is lobbying Cheshire East Council to find some
funding to set up this new community group, as a legacy - and to
enable it to start up as a going concern.
"The anticipated sources of
funding in future will be the grants we intend to draw in for
specific projects throughout South Cheshire (basically the old Crewe
and Nantwich area). It is this area that has been left out of any
provision of a Countryside Ranger - there are lots east of the M6.
The one in the Crewe area was transferred to somewhere else in
Cheshire East. No funding is in place for a replacement.
"There are no plans or
system in place for any more work on the riverside or for other
similar projects in our area. I felt this was alarming and so
decided to get involved to try to persuade Cheshire East Council to
change their plans to abandon funding - and the people of Nantwich."
Nantwich Town Council have
been told of the situation and Jeff is to address them at their
meeting on February 8.
I HAVE been given sight of an
information sheet prepared for a meeting of the Nantwich Local
Area Partnership last month which included the hopeful comment: "We
shall build upon the success of the Riverside Project; use our
experience and skills to do similar work and to explore new ways of
working with and empowering people in the area on environmental
improvements and facilities."
It went on: "We aim to deliver work on behalf of funding agencies, local
government, voluntary and similar groups providing hands-on
experiences for schools, students, families, offenders and many
We will re-invest any profits into the community
to secure a high social return."
A group of 10
to 12 people "with
experience of environmental and community matters in the local area,
in the public, private and voluntary sectors" have set up
"With the recent demise of the Nantwich Riverside Project through a
lack of new funds, it brought a realisation that there would be no
environmental projects carried out in future in South Cheshire -
unless we did something ourselves within our community to help,"
said the information sheet.
As well as the initial
members, and Jeff as Chairman, the new group would have a familiar
face as Project Manager.
James Thompson, who held a part-time job
with the same title with Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council when the
excellent work in the River Weaver Valley took place under the
Nantwich Riverside Project, is all set to take on a similar role.
After Cheshire East Council
took over the running of half of the old county of Cheshire on April
1, 2009, worries began to emerge that the project wouldn't be
financed under the new authority.
Fears that proved to be well founded.
The formation of
"quickly enable us to develop and implement a variety of projects in
South Cheshire," says the information sheet. "We shall be open and
transparent about our dealings with funders and communities and
listen to suggestions from them."
Greenspaces is asking local
authorities and bodies for ideas for projects and "help
legacy / seed corn funding – principally for set-up administration
costs, a part-time project manager, planning / scoping
time and bidding for
Footpath signs in
the Riverside area
WHEN The Chronicle broke the news of the
funding cuts, Jeff Stubbs, in his role as the Civic Society's
Chairman, was quoted as saying: "We are deeply troubled by the fact
that the good work delivered by the Riverside Project is not only
coming to an end, but that its energy and achievements are now in
One of the projects that
would be lost by the funding cuts is a hydro-electric scheme
in the mill race - the often fast-flowing water in a channel at the
Waterlode side of the river which was once the overflow area for the
river when it was not running through the mill to
turn the grinding stones. This was to
provide electric power for events on Mill Island.
A Cheshire East Council
spokesman was quoted by the Chronicle as saying: "The Nantwich
Riverside Project was externally funded. This funding has now ceased
and as a result the (hydroelectric) project has been concluded.
Cheshire East Council will, however, continue the maintenance of the
Hopefully, the new
Greenspaces project will be able to bring the project to fruition. See what happened to the project by visiting the
"Externally funded" is believed to mean by the old Crewe and Nantwich