As the new year gets under way, Chronicle reporter Frances Barrett asked a selection of key community figures from Frodsham and Helsby what they think and hope 2014 will bring.
Headteacher of Helsby High School John Dowler said: “We look forward to another successful year for Helsby High School and to celebrating the many academic and wider successes of our young people.
“The school will continue to build on our strong local and international partnerships; in particular, with our partner primary schools, local community groups, international exchanges and visits, our AfriTwin partnerships with Cape Town schools and through the extensive range of cultural and extra-curricular opportunities available to our young people.”
Insp Keith Curbishley of Western Rural Neighbourhood Policing Unit said: “I would like to wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2014.
“2013 has been a challenging year for the constabulary, trying to deliver the best possible service whilst facing harsh financial restrictions.
“You will have noticed several new methods of communication being introduced by our neighbourhood policing unit.
“These new systems are designed to improve our capability of getting important information out to the public and giving the public direction as to the best way of feeding useful information back to the police.
“This use of technology should help to speed up the exchange of information, on which the police rely so heavily, and thereby improve the service that we can offer.”
Chairman of Helsby Parish Council Stuart Hulse said: “The cogs keep slowly turning all the time. We are going to have the war memorial cleaned as part of the commemorations of the start of the First World War.
“We are in the process of applying for a grant from the crime commissioner to go towards a permanent speed sign on Chester Road to remind people to slow down through the village.
“The key feature of the neighbourhood plan for us is that Helsby has been allocated 350 houses. We need to make sure that they are the right size and style for Helsby. We are an iron age village and this needs to be preserved.”
Mayor of Frodsham Sara Wakefield said: “In my year so far as Mayor I have noticed that Frodsham has an amazing number of volunteers that help to keep many community groups running but there are opportunities for more people both young and old to become involved so make this your year for volunteering.
“The biggest challenge that I believe Frodsham and its high street will face this year will be the opening of a second supermarket.
“Frodsham has a great independent shopping offering with so much variety and choice. If you haven’t already shopped local in Frodsham then I would recommend it.”
Helsby Parish Councillor Chris Ellams said: “As much as a resident of the village of Helsby as well as a parish councillor, I have many hopes for the coming year.
“I would like to see the housing developments begin at both the Robin Hood and Horse and Jockey sites. These continue to be an eye sore in what is otherwise a well kept village. The railway station with its connections to Manchester and North Wales continues to be popular but brings with it problems with parking.
This has been an ongoing problem for some time. It would be nice to see a solution to this problem.
“It is good to see the businesses in the village continue to do well and that the village has no unoccupied shops at present.”
Frodsham town and borough councillor Andrew Dawson said: “I expect 2014 to be a year of progress, commemoration and optimism.
“On our high street I expect that Frodsham will continue to outperform all other retailing towns in the Borough (we already have the lowest shop vacancy rate in CWaC).
“I also expect we'll see a greater interest in Frodsham from housebuilders and developers.
“I also hope we'll see Frodsham working towards developing its own neighbourhood plan like Tattenhall has done.
“We've been very fortunate in Frodsham. In spite of public sector austerity, we have seen within the last two to three years a fantastic medical centre and a new and greatly enhanced public library. I expect we will see the benefits of these facilities and the closer working relationships really start to pay dividends for us as a local community.
“You can't think of 2014 without touching on the First World War and the commemorations that will take place. I do hope we will all take time out during the year to reflect on the conflict and the effect it had on local families.”
Jo Garner, director of Helsby-based charity Cheshire Autism Practical Support Ltd (ChAPS) , said: “ChAPS’ hopes for this coming year include being able to provide short break services for children in Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester.
“We have been providing early intervention services for nearly three years and have an excellent relationship with the local authority and the families we support. These essential services make a huge difference to a child with autism.”