THE new mayor of Knutsford has vowed to tackle ‘the appalling condition’ of roads and pavements.

In his opening address, Cllr Mike Houghton outlined the council’s main objections for the forthcoming year.

Many challenges the town faces, he said, are issues the council does not have direct control over but will be vehemently pursued.

Cllr Houghton said: “I don’t need to tell anyone about the appalling condition of our roads and pavements in Knutsford.

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“Whilst we are not alone in this issue I think it’s fair to say that we call well below the average in the condition of our road network across Cheshire.

“We share your frustration and, with the help of our Cheshire East ward councillors, continue to pursue an improvement to this.”

Knutsford Guardian: New Knutsford mayor Cllr Mike HoughtonNew Knutsford mayor Cllr Mike Houghton

The mayor said he is also worried about proposed new properties.

“Current and earmarked new housing developments will see more than 900 new homes built in Knutsford over the next decade or so,” said Cllr Houghton.

“My major concern is there is currently little or no narrative around the infrastructure required to support this, including roads, transport, education and medical services.

“We have to progress this conversation now with Cheshire East Council and the town council will be doing all it can to make this happen.”

Tackling the ‘ever increasing issue of dog fouling’, particularly in public spaces, he said is also top of the council’s agenda.

On a positive note, many new initiatives are set to be unveiled in 2022.

Cllr Houghton said: “We will be launching our first food and drink festival in August along with all the events we have planned including the music festival, al fresco dining and the various markets.

“We will be developing plans for the refurbishment of the indoor Market Hall and improving the entrance to the cemetery.”

The iconic building at 60 King Street, formerly Belle Epoque and recently known as Kings Coffee House, is set for regeneration.

The Grade II listed building is owned by the council, which is seeking views from the local community during an open consultation.

“We will be developing our first stage National Heritage Lottery fund bid,” said Cllr Houghton.

“And exploring temporary use of the building in the intervening period.”

The mayor has pledged to raise funds to create a Men’s Shed in Knutsford during his term in office.

“We are considering including a shed in our proposals for shared community space within 60 King Street.

“Activities in sheds vary greatly but you can usually find some element of woodworking, metalworking, repairing and restoring and electronics.

“Sheds typically attract older men, but many have younger members and women too.

“The essence of a shed is not a building, but the connections and relationships between its members.”

Exploring active travel initiatives around the town to promote walking and cycling is another key objective.

Developing plans for extended of the council offices, now under the full control and ownership of the town council, is also in the pipeline.