Cheshire West and Chester
|Cheshire West and Chester|
|Borough and Unitary authority|
Cheshire West and Chester shown within Cheshire
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||North West England|
|Established||1 April 2009|
|• Type||Unitary authority|
|• Body||Cheshire West and Chester Council|
|• Leadership||Leader and cabinet|
|• Leader||Samantha Dixon|
|• Lord Mayor (Chester)||Hugo Deynem|
|• Chief Executive||Steve Robinson|
|• Total||353.9 sq mi (916.7 km2)|
|Population (mid-2014 est.)|
|• Density||940/sq mi (362/km2)|
|• Ethnicity||98.5% white|
|Time zone||Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)|
|• Summer (DST)||British Summer Time (UTC+1)|
|NUTS 3 code||UKD63|
Cheshire West and Chester is a non-metropolitan county, non-metropolitan district and unitary authority with borough status in the ceremonial county of Cheshire. It was established on 1 April 2009 as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England, by virtue of an order under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. It superseded the boroughs of Ellesmere Port and Neston and Vale Royal and the City of Chester and its council assumed the functions and responsibilities of the former Cheshire County Council within its area. The remainder of ceremonial Cheshire is composed of Cheshire East, Warrington and Halton.
The decision to create the Cheshire West and Chester unitary authority was announced on 25 July 2007 following a consultation period, in which a proposal to create a single Cheshire unitary authority was rejected. Chester City Council had proposed the new authority be called 'The City of Chester and West Cheshire' but this was also rejected. The council name is still an area of contention with the district of Northwich and its people as they have argued since 2007 that a more befitting name considering the geographic differences of nearly 20 miles would be 'Cheshire West and Mid Cheshire Council'.
- 1 Governance
- 2 Demography
- 3 Local nature reserves
- 4 Transport
- 5 Places of interest
- 6 Sport
- 7 Twin towns
- 8 References
- 9 External links
In line with every other district in Cheshire, the executive is composed of a leader and cabinet composed of elected councillors. From its establishment in 2009, Cheshire West and Chester was governed by the Conservative Party, with Mike Jones as leader. Currently, as of 2015, the borough is governed by the Labour Party, with Samantha Dixon becoming the first female leader of the council upon taking office.
The leader presently oversees a cabinet of eight, with each member holding a specific portfolio. Opposition parties can also elect to appoint shadow cabinet members, though they have no executive power.
All councillors vote to appoint a chairman for the following municipal year (May) at the council AGM. Traditionally, this role was combined with that of the apolitical and ceremonial Lord Mayor of Chester, but in 2015 these roles were separated and the role of chairman was politicised.
The executive is scrutinised by one general committee and four district committees made up of councillors, which replaced six dedicated scrutiny committees for different topics in May 2015.
Also upon establishment in 2009, Cheshire West and Chester Council inherited a number of buildings from the local authorities it replaced in every town in the borough. However, despite Cheshire County Council vacating its headquarters (County Hall, Chester), the new authority spent £21 million of taxpayers' money purchasing and furbishing a new headquarters at HQ, also in Chester. County hall was later sold to the University of Chester, who now use it as a campus, for £10 million.
The first elections to the authority took place on 1 May 2008, with the electoral wards being the same as those used in the former Cheshire County Council elections, with each ward electing three councillors. There were twenty-four wards in total, meaning that seventy-two councillors were elected.
An electoral review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England was put into effect prior to 2011 elections, meaning that three additional councillors were created, making a total of seventy-five in the borough. The ward boundaries were also comprehensively re-drawn, with their number being increased by twenty-two to forty-six. The new wards were mostly single-member wards, with two and three-member wards for the more populous areas.
Council wards, Civil parishes and House of Commons constituencies
There are ninety-seven parish councils in the borough, despite there being a total of 166 civil parishes before a community governance review was undertaken by the borough council in 2014 under section 82 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007:
Members of Parliament
Members of the European Parliament
In line with nearly every local government district in England and Wales, the majority of the population describe themselves as 'white'. The exact figure - 97.5% - is comparable with metropolitan counties such as Merseyside, non-metropolitan counties such as Cumbria and principal areas throughout Wales. This would suggest that the figure is not a significant outlier nationwide.
The next largest ethnic group in the borough is Asian, who along with other ethnic minorities are supported by the Cheshire Asian & Minority Communities Council, a registered charity headquartered in Chester.
|2011 United Kingdom Census|
|Country of birth||Population|
The majority of the population of Cheshire West and Chester is British-born, with the percentage standing at 95.1% (2011), a figure significantly above that of the UK as a whole (88.7%, 2010). The largest overseas nationality is Polish, which is significant because of the World War II U.S. military base and subsequent Polish refugee camp in Cuddington.
The overwhelming main religion in Cheshire West and Chester is Christianity, with a percentage figure above the average for England and Wales (59.3%, 2011). The single largest church is the Church of England, with the borough being served by the Chester Archdeaconry, with six deaneries and an average of twenty parish churches in each deanery. Roman Catholicism also has a significant presence across the borough, with all its churches located in the Diocese of Shrewsbury.
Methodist churches in the borough form groups averaging ten, known as 'circuits' (the four in Cheshire West and Chester are all part of the Chester and Stoke-on-Trent District). More marginal churches include Assemblies of God, Baptist Union, Elim Pentecostal, United Reformed and the English Presbyterian Church of Wales in Chester.
Aside from churches, there are two mosques in Cheshire West and Chester - one each in Chester and Ellesmere Port - which were subjected to property theft and racially aggravated disorder respectively in 2014.
Local nature reserves
Cheshire West and Chester Council maintains six Local Nature Reserves: Burton Mill Wood (Ellesmere Port), Helsby Quarry (Vale Royal), Marshall's Arm (Vale Royal), Rivacre Valley (Ellesmere Port), Stanney Wood (Ellesmere Port) and Whitby Park (Ellesmere Port).
There are no passenger airports in the borough (a grass airfield exists in Little Budworth), with the nearest being Liverpool and Manchester which licensed vehicles provide transport to. Airbus' fleet of A300-600ST Beluga transporter aircraft are based at Hawarden Airport in neighbouring Flintshire, adjacent to their wing manufacturing facility.
Three disused railways in the borough have been converted to off-road cycleways, including:
- Birkenhead Railway: Contains sections of NCR56 and the Wirral Circular Trail and is now called Wirral Way.
- Chester & Connah's Quay Railway: Contains a section of NCR5 and is now called Chester Millennium Greenway.
- Winsford and Over Branch Line: Contains a section of regional route 71 and is now called Whitegate Way.
Chester is the hub of the railway network in the borough, with over four million trips recorded annually. Passenger numbers doubled to this figure in the ten years to 2015, making the station the eighth-busiest in North West England. Railway lines in the borough - not necessarily connecting to Chester - include:
- Borderlands Line: Connects Bidston in Wirral with Wrexham in Wales and includes a stop at Neston. Services are provided by Arriva Trains Wales.
- Chester-Manchester Line: Includes stops at Helsby and Frodsham and is operated by Arriva Trains Wales.
- Ellesmere Port to Warrington Line: Includes stops at Stanlow & Thornton and Ince & Elton before meeting the Chester-Manchester Line near Helsby and is operated by Northern Rail according to a Department for Transport-set minimum service pattern.
- Mid-Cheshire Line: Leaves the Chester-Manchester Line near Mickle Trafford and includes stops at Mouldsworth, Delamere, Cuddington, Greenbank, Northwich and Lostock Gralam, with services provided by Northern Rail. A single-track railway exists between Northwich and Sandbach, but it is only used for freight.
- North Wales Coast Line: Originates at Crewe and passes through Chester, with services provided by Arriva Trains Wales and Virgin Trains.
- Shrewsbury to Chester Line: The section between Wrexham and Chester is currently in the process of being reinstated as a two-track railway under the direction of the Welsh Government. Services are provided by Arriva Trains Wales and Virgin Trains.
- West Coast Main Line: Aside from stops at Winsford, Hartford and Acton Bridge, the branch line to Liverpool diverges at Weaver Junction - the oldest of its type in Great Britain. It is currently operated by Virgin Trains, however High Speed 2 services to Liverpool using "classic compatible" trains are proposed to run along this section of the line.
- Wirral Line: Chester is one of the terminus stations of the line which loops clockwise around Liverpool city centre in a tunnel. The line includes stops at Bache, Capenhurst and Hooton, with a branch line from the latter running to another terminus at Ellesmere Port, with stops at Little Sutton and Overpool. The line is operated by Merseyrail with this line and the WCML being the only two electrified railways in the borough.
Motorways and primary routes in the borough which are maintained by Highways England (trunk roads de jure) include the M6, M53, M56, A55, A483, A494, A550 and a short section of the A41 in Hooton. Other primary routes which are maintained by the council (principal roads de jure) include the A41, A49, A51, A54, A56, A483, A530, A533, A534, A556, A5115, A5116, A5117 and A5268.
Chester and Ellesmere Port - both primary route destinations - form the hub of the road network in Cheshire West and Chester, with routes of national importance carrying traffic in all directions to locations including Flintshire, Halton, Wirral and Wrexham.
The European Route E05 is routed via the M6, carrying international traffic between Scotland, North West England, the West Midlands and France via Southampton. E22 is routed via the A494 and M56, carrying international traffic between Ireland, North Wales, North West England, Yorkshire and the Netherlands. Both routes meet at Lymm Interchange, which lies in neighbouring Cheshire East.
Three local MPs - Graham Evans, Justin Madders and Chris Matheson - raised safety concerns about the M56 between J12 and J14 in parliament after more than one hundred-and-sixty incidents were recorded since 2011. In response, Andrew Jones, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, confirmed that an upgrade to smart motorway will only take place after 2020.
Navigable waterways in the borough include the Manchester Ship Canal, Shropshire Union Canal, Trent and Mersey Canal and the Weaver Navigation, the latter two being connected together by the Anderton Boat Lift near Northwich, the only caisson lift lock in the United Kingdom.
Places of interest
|Accessible open space|
|Museum (free/not free)|
- Abbeywood estate
- Aldersey Green Golf Club
- Anderton Boat Lift
- Beeston Castle
- Bickerton Hill SSSI
- Blakemere Craft Centre
- Blue Planet Aquarium
- Bluebell Cottage Gardens
- Bolesworth Castle
- Burton Mere Wetlands (part of Dee Estuary RSPB reserve)
- Carden Park Hotel
- Cheshire Military Museum
- Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet
- Cheshire Workshops
- Chester Castle
- Chester Cathedral
- Chester city walls
- Chester Racecourse
- Chester Roman Amphitheatre
- Chester History and Heritage
- Chester Rows
- Chester Zoo
- Craxton Wood Hotel
- The Crocky Trail
- Delamere Forest
- Deva Stadium
- Dewa Roman Experience
- Grosvenor Museum
- Grosvenor Park
- Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre
- The Groves
- Harlequin Theatre
- Hoole Hall
- Ice Cream Farm
- JF Polo Academy
- Lion Salt Works
- Little Budworth Country Park
- Manley Mere
- Marbury Country Park
- Mersey View
- National Waterways Museum
- Ness Botanic Gardens
- Northgate Arena
- Oulton Park
- Parkgate salt marsh (part of Dee Estuary RSPB reserve and SSSI)
- Parkgate sea front
- Portal Hotel, Golf and Spa
- Pryors Hayes Golf Club
- Rowton Hall
- Rowton Moor battle site
- St John the Baptist's Church, Chester
- Stonyford Cottage Gardens
- Stretton Watermill
- Tirley Garth
- Vale Royal Falconry Centre
- Walk Mill
- Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse
- Willington Hall
- Wincham Park
- Wirral Country Park
There is only one full-time professional football club in the borough - Chester FC - who play in the National League. Northwich has four semi-professional teams - Barnton, Northwich Victoria, Witton Albion and 1874 Northwich - all of whom play in regional leagues. Winsford is also represented in the non-league pyramid by Winsford United.
Below level ten of the English football league system are county-wide amateur leagues, with two covering the geographic area of the borough - the Cheshire Association Football League and West Cheshire Association Football League. Although several clubs are members of the former, many more compete in the latter - most notably Vauxhall Motors, who de-professionalised themselves in 2014. Below that is the Chester & Wirral Football League, where teams representing neighbourhoods/villages and/or pubs/social clubs ('pub teams') compete.
Whilst the borough per se does not have any twinning agreements, several of its settlements have agreements predating its creation in 2009, listed below:
- "The Cheshire (Structural Changes) Order 2008 - Article 4". www.legislation.gov.uk. Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
- "County split into two authorities". www.bbc.co.uk/news. BBC News. 25 July 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2007.
- "Cheshire West and Chester Council have bad-tempered first meeting under Labour control". www.chesterchronicle.co.uk. Chester Chronicle. 26 May 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
- "Cheshire West and Chester Council HQ is 21st century workplace". www.chesterchronicle.co.uk. Chester Chronicle. 23 September 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- "Election 2011 Live Results". www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk. Cheshire West and Chester Council. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
- "Your Councillors by Ward". www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk. Cheshire West and Chester Council. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
- "Labour take control of Cheshire West and Chester Council". www.northwichguardian.co.uk. Northwich Guardian. 9 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- "Town and parish councils". www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk. Cheshire West and Chester Council. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
- "Parish and Town Councils in Cheshire" (PDF). www.chalc.org.uk. Cheshire Association of Local Councils. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Community governance arrangements". www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk. Cheshire West and Chester Council. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 - Section 82". www.legislation.gov.uk. Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "2011 Census, Key Statistics for Local Authorities in England and Wales". www.ons.gov.uk. Office for National Statistics. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
- "Population and social conditions" (PDF). www.ec.europa.eu/eurostat. Eurostat. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- "Heartless thieves steal plants from mosque during Ramadan". www.chesterchronicle.co.uk. Chester Chronicle. 28 July 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- "Ellesmere Port man arrested after pig's head placed outside Islamic centre". www.chesterchronicle.co.uk. Chester Chronicle. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- "Statutory Sites". Cheshire West and Chester council. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
- "Complete Library of Free Chester Cycle Route Maps". www.chestercyclecity.org. Chester Cycling Campaign. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "Chester Railway Station sees passenger numbers double in 10 years". www.chesterchronicle.co.uk. Chester Chronicle. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
- "Electrification Task Force Final Report Revealed". www.railnorth.org. Rail North. 5 March 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "Chester Road one of most congested outside London". www.chesterstandard.co.uk. The Standard. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
- "Weaver Vale MP raises M56 issues in House of Commons". www.chesterchronicle.co.uk. Chester Chronicle. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- "M56 Smart Motorway won't happen". www.chesterchronicle.co.uk. Chester Chronicle. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- Cheshire West and Chester Council website
- Webcasts – Cheshire West and Chester Council meetings
- Cheshire West and Chester Council's videos