Cllr Rachel Bailey reflects on the loss of the International Cheese and Dairy Awards from Nantwich and the impact on South Cheshire’s rural community and visitor economy:
“As I write, ordinarily the market town of Nantwich would have been busy preparing for its annual show, the biggest one day event, known worldwide for its prestigious International Cheese and Dairy Awards.
Cheshire the birthplace of its namesake cheese, was a perfect setting for the annual gathering of Cheese makers, traders and sponsors including major retailers from far and wide.
An event, which attracted entries from upwards of 30 countries from around the world, along with thousands of trade delegates who eagerly sought hotel/B&B accommodation within the area, has recently announced that it is to relocate next year’s show to Staffordshire.
When Cllr David Brown asked Cheshire East Leader Cllr Corcoran at a recent meeting “what action had been taken to try to prevent this loss of tourism in Cheshire and what further action was now being considered”, Cllr Nick Mannion, Lead Member for the Environment stepped in, expressing his disappointment, and promised a written answer.
Their silence since appears to fit with the apparent absence of engagement with the show by this Labour/Independent administration since they took over at Cheshire East in May 2019.
A search of the council media hub provides a couple of recent references to the show, one last autumn was simply ‘in passing’ as part of a self congratulatory announcement of, ‘its achievement of a booming visitor economy’ and how the council is investing in, ‘sensational tourism schemes’.
Cllr Corcoran’s ‘sensational headlines’ are all well and good but it’s a pity that ever so quickly, within 14 months in fact, ‘your administration’ failed to recognise the importance of keeping in touch.
To be unaware of, or to ignore the value of, or to forget to welcome a Major International Event to Cheshire East shows poor understanding of the diversity of our economy.
There can be many reasons why this international event has left our borough, but there can be no excuses for the leader of this council not to have done everything he can to support a major rural event.
So in saying a fond farewell to the Cheese Awards, I say to you Cllr Corcoran, heed the work of the army of ‘Show Volunteers’ whose work rightly received Royal Recognition and remember, “support comes in many forms and doesn’t always have to be fiscal”.
Cllr Rachel Bailey
CEC Audlem Ward