Borough Profile

Introduction to Cheshire West and Chester

​Cheshire West and Chester Council was created in 2009 following a review of local government. The Local Authority covers approximately 350 square miles and is the fourth largest unitary authority in the North West. The Borough includes the historic city of Chester and the industrial market towns of Ellesmere Port, Frodsham, Helsby, Malpas, Neston, Northwich and Winsford; as well as a patchwork of rural villages. Over 335,000 people live in Cheshire West and about a third live in rural areas.

 

Key messages

​The current population of Cheshire West and Chester is 335,700 and is forecast to increase by about 10% to 367,000 by 2035. Older age groups will see the biggest increase, with the number of residents aged 65 plus expected to increase by 28% and the numbers of people aged 85 and over forecast to more than double.

Quality of life is generally good for many people across the Borough, with lower levels of deprivation, higher incomes and generally good health. However, there are pockets of significant disadvantage, where residents experience poorer health outcomes, living conditions, educational attainment and economic prospects.

Local population

  • ​Cheshire West and Chester’s population is increasing. The 2017 mid-year population estimate was 338,000. This is 8,600 higher than in 2007 [Ref1].
  • The current estimated population includes:

60,100 children aged 0-15

206,400 people of working age (16-64)

71,500 older people aged 65 and above.

  • Between mid-year 2016 and 2017 there were around 3,500 live births in Cheshire West and Chester and 3,500 deaths [Ref2].
  • Around 18,000 people moved in to Cheshire West and Chester and 15,800 moved out [Ref2].


  • The population is forecast to increase by around 10% to almost 367,000 by 2035 [Ref3].
  • The greatest increase will be in the number of residents aged 65 plus which is expected to increase to 101,000, or 28% of the population by 2035. The number of people aged 85 and over is forecast to more than double to 20,000 [Ref3]. 
  • At the time of the last Census in 2011 [Ref4], 5% of the population (17,600) were Black and Minority Ethnic residents.

Ref1: ONS  mid-year population estimates, Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0
Ref2: 2017 mid-year estimates (components of population change for local authorities in the UK, mid-2017), Office for National Statistics licensed under the Local Government Licence v.3.0
Ref3: 2015 based population forecasts, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref4: 2011 Census, Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0

Inequality and deprivation

  • In 2015-16, West Cheshire Foodbank provided food supplies to 3,680 adults and 1,729 children [Ref5].
  • In 2015, 13.1% (7,565) of children aged under 16 were living in poverty, compared to 16.8% nationally. However, at a very local level some small neighbourhood areas record rates of child poverty of at least 40% [Ref6].
  • 11.3% of households in the borough are living in fuel poverty [Ref7].
  • Cheshire West and Chester ranks 163rd out of 326 local authorities in England in terms of deprivation [Ref8].
  • 14 neighbourhoods rank in the 10% most deprived in England. Around 20,600 residents live in these areas. This is an increase from 12 most deprived neighbourhood areas in 2010 [Ref8].
  • Three neighbourhoods are ranked in the 2% most deprived in England. One in Winsford Over and Verdin ward, one in Lache ward and one in Winsford Wharton ward. Around 4,402 residents live in these areas of Cheshire West and Chester [Ref8].

Ref5: West Cheshire Foodbank Still Hungry Report, 2016. DIAL West Cheshire (DIAL House), Chester Aid to the Homeless and The Debt Advice Network. The University of Oxford.
Ref6: Personal tax credits: children in low-income families local measure: 2015 snapshot at 31 August 2015
Ref7: Sub regional fuel poverty 2018 (2016 data), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Ref8: Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2015, Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Education

  • ​In 2017, 70.5% of five year olds achieved a good level of development, similar to the England average of 70.7% [Ref9].
  • At key stage two, 59% of pupils achieved the expected standard or above in reading, writing and maths, lower than the England average of 61% (2017) [Ref10].
  • In 2017, the average attainment 8 score per pupil was 46.5, higher than the England average of 44.6. Progress 8 scores show that pupils in Cheshire West and Chester scored half a point lower than the expected average compared to 0.2 points lower for England [Ref11].
  • 11.5% of primary school pupils and 9.4% of secondary school pupils are eligible for free school meals (2017) [Ref12].
  • 1 in 7 (7,882) pupils have a special educational need (2017) [Ref13].
  • Children facing disadvantage perform significantly worse than their peers including looked after children, children in need, those on free school meals and those with a special educational need.
Ref9: Early years foundation stage profile results 2016 to 2017, Department for Education
Ref10: National curriculum assessments key stage 2 2017 revised, Department for Education
Ref11: Statistics - GCSEs key stage four, Department for Education
Ref12: School pupils and their characteristics January 2017, Department for Education
Ref13: Special educational needs in England January 2017, Department for Education  

Skills and employment

  • ​In Cheshire West and Chester, nearly 1 in 13 of the working age population (aged 16-64) have no qualifications (7.3% in Cheshire West and Chester, 7.6% in England). 43.8% have a Level 4 qualification or above (degree or equivalent), higher than the England rate of 38.3% [Ref14].
  • At May 2018, the percentage of young people aged 16-17 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) or Not Known is 2.7% (177 young people). This is lower than the national average of 5.8% [Ref15].
  • The current employment rate is 73.6% (Jan 2017 - Dec 2017) this represents around 149,500 residents aged 16 to 64 and is in line with the England rate of 75.1% [Ref14].
  • Unemployment has fallen to 3.8% (Jan 2017- Dec 2017), below the national average of 4.4%, and down from a peak of 7% in 2012 [Ref16].
  • The number of long-term Job Seekers Allowance claimants has been steady since January. In May 2018 there were around 490 people claiming JSA for longer than six months [Ref17].
  • The 2017 median gross weekly earnings for residents in full time employment are £555.50, higher than the UK median of £550.40 [Ref18].

Ref14: Annual population Survey (APS) (2017). Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0.
Ref15: NEET or Not Known, Monthly trend May 2018, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Integrated Early Support Team, CCIS and National CCIS, 2018
Ref16: Model-based estimates of unemployment (estimated rate is a percentage of the economically active population aged 16+, APS - ONS Crown Copyright Reserved [from Nomis on 9 July 2018]
Ref17: JSA stats are from Nomis – Job Seekers Allowance Duration Stats - ONS Crown Copyright Reserved [from Nomis on 9 July 2018]
Ref18: ONS annual survey of hours and earnings - resident analysis ONS Crown Copyright Reserved [from Nomis on 9 July 2018]

Health and wellbeing - Adults

  • ​The 2011 Census [Ref4] found that 81.6% of people were in very good or good health.
  • Life expectancy at birth for men is 79.7 years, just above the national average of 79.5 years.  For women, it is 82.8 years compared to the England average of 83.1 years (2014-16) [Ref19].
  • People in Cheshire West and Chester can expect to spend a higher proportion of their lives in good health than the England average and fewer years spent in poor health. The number of years spent in “not good” health is 13.5 years for men compared to 16.2 years for England, and 17.3 years for women compared to 19.2 years for England [Ref20].
  • Those living in more deprived areas have significantly lower life expectancy. The inequality gap in life expectancy at birth is widest for men at 9.4 years. The gap for women is 8.8 years [Ref21].
  • Cancer and heart disease are the key diseases that contribute to inequalities for both men and women. Coronary heart disease (CHD) deaths make the biggest difference for men and lung cancer for women [Ref21].
  • Smoking levels have fallen markedly in recent decades and are below the England average; however 12.7% of Cheshire West and Chester’s adults are smokers [Ref22]. 78% of residents feel stop smoking initiatives are well promoted locally [Ref23].
  • Around one in five adults are not physically active; 19.9% compared to 22.2% in England [Ref24]. 68% of residents feel keeping active initiatives are well promoted in the area [Ref23].
  • 59.1% of adults are estimated to be overweight or obese (61.3% in England) [Ref25]. Two thirds of residents (64%) feel that healthy weight initiatives are well promoted [Ref23].
  • In Cheshire West and Chester, 29% of residents drink at levels that could harm their health, similar to the England average [Ref26]. 72% of residents feel that responsible drinking initiatives are well promoted [Ref23].
  • An estimated 1,290 people aged 18 and over have a moderate or severe learning disability [Ref27].
  • 10 small neighbourhood areas in Cheshire West and Chester are predicted to have amongst the highest levels of loneliness for older people in England and Wales [Ref28].
  • The number of people with dementia in Cheshire West and Chester is forecast to almost double over the next twenty years, from 4,600 in 2012 to around 8,900 in 2032 [Ref29].
  • At the time of the 2011 Census [Ref4], 11.3% (37,121) of people said they provided more than one hour unpaid care per week, with around 8,500 providing more than 50 hours per week.
  • 3.4% of the adult population is in contact with secondary mental health services, lower than the England rate (5.4%) [Ref30].
  • Using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being scale, the mental well-being score for residents has improved slightly from 25.4 in 2011 to 26 in 2017 [Ref23].
  • Locally, 89.9% of adults with a learning disability live in their own home, or with their family [Ref31].
  • Cheshire West and Chester council provided services to 10,318 people aged 18 and over from 1 April 2017 – 31 March 2018.  3,545 people between the ages 18 – 64 and for a further 6,773 who were over 65 years old [Ref31].
  • Cheshire West and Chester supported approximately 2,111 adults in 2016/2017 that chose to arrange their own care either by employing a personal assistant or through a care agency provider [Ref31].

Ref4: 2011 Census, Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0
Ref19: Life expectancy 2014-16, Public Health England
Ref20: Inequality in life expectancy 2014-16, Public Health England
Ref21: Mortality and Life Expectancy JSNA, November 2017, Cheshire West and Chester Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
Ref22: Smoking prevalence in adults (APS) – current smokers (2017), Local Tobacco Control Profiles, Public Health England
Ref23: Your Voice Matters Residents Survey 2017, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref24: Percentage of physically inactive adults, 2016/17, Public Health Outcomes Framework, Public Health England
Ref25: Percentage of adults aged 18+classified as overweight or obese (current method), 2015/16, Public Health Outcomes Framework, Public Health England
Ref26: Local Alcohol Consumption Survey, 2015, Public Health England
Ref27: Learning disability - Projecting Adult Needs and Service Information, Oxford Brookes University and Institute of Public Care
Ref28: Predictions of loneliness for older people, Cheshire West and Chester JSNA, Davidson, S, Rossall, P (2015). Evidence Review: Loneliness in Later Life, Age UK.
Ref29: Dementia forecasts, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref30: Proportion of adults in the population in contact with secondary mental health services, 2014/15, Public Health Outcomes Framework, Public Health England
Ref31: Adult Social Care Market Position Statement, 2018, Cheshire West and Chester Council

Health and wellbeing - Children

  • ​In 2016/17, 36.2% of babies in Cheshire West and Chester were either fully or partially breastfed at their 6 to 8 week check [Ref32], this is an increase from 34.0% in 2015/16 but remains significantly lower than the England average (44.4% in 2016/17).
  • One in five children (20.6%) in their school reception year are overweight or obese, this is significantly better than the England average of 22.6% [Ref33].
  • One in three (32.7%) of children aged 10-11 (year 6) are overweight or obese, similar to England average of 34.2% [Ref34].
  • An estimated 13.1% of 0-24 year olds have a mental health disorder. The most common mental health problems among children and young people are conduct disorder, emotional disorders (anxiety and depression) and ADHD/ hyperkinetic disorders [Ref35].
  • An estimated 2,080 young people in Cheshire West and Chester deliberately injured themselves on 6,550 separate occasions in 2015 [Ref36].
  • Within Cheshire West and Chester, there are around 2,300 children of our 0-17 population who are considered as ‘Children in Need’ and receiving services from Children’s Social Care. Rates are in line with the national average, with 338.9 per every 10,000 children in the borough being defined a Child in Need, against the England rate of 330.4 [Ref37].
  • Of Cheshire West and Chester’s children in need, 251 children were on a Child Protection Plan and 485 children were within the Local Authority’s care (2016/17) [Ref37].
  • Cheshire West and Chester has committed to embed common early help assessments across all local public agencies, so as to provide more joined up and consistent approach to agencies. 795 TAFs (Team around the Family) were opened by partner agencies during 2017/18, including 88 by Health and 678 by Schools. A further 595 children were opened to TAF by the Local Authority’s Early Help and Prevention Service in the same period [Ref38].
  •  Around a quarter of all contacts into Children’s Social Care and Early Help are for the reason of Domestic Abuse [Ref39]. This reflects the strong commitment to the model by Police, domestic abuse and adult professionals.
Ref32: Breastfeeding data 2016/17, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref33: Child excess weight in 4-5 year olds, National Child Measurement Programme - England, 2016/17 [NS], NHS digital
Ref34: Child excess weight in 10-11 year olds, National Child Measurement Programme - England, 2016/17 [NS], NHS digital
Ref35: Children and young people’s mental health (2016), Cheshire West and Chester Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
Ref36: Self-Injury JSNA (2016), Cheshire West and Chesters Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
Ref37: Local Authority Interactive Tool, accessed March 2018, Department for Education
Ref38: Team Around the Family, July 2018, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref39: Contacts into children’s Social Care and Early Help, March 2018, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council
 

Satistfaction with the local area

  • ​Overall, 84% of local people are satisfied with their local area as a place to live [Ref23], which is in line with the Community Survey 2011 figures.
  • 18% of residents feel their local area has improved in the last three years, a rise from 16% in 2011. This figure rises to 23% for residents of Northwich and Winsford [Ref23]. [Note in 2011 the question was based on previous two years rather than three years].
  • The top three issues cited by residents as presenting a problem that affects their quality of life are knowing what services are available to them (50%), knowing what benefits they are entitled to (45%) and being able to get to the GP (38%) [Ref23].
  • In a 2017 business survey, 69% of businesses cited ‘overall attractiveness of the area’ in their top three benefits of being located where they are in Cheshire West and Chester [Ref40].

Ref23: Your Voice Matters Residents Survey 2017, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref40: Cheshire Business Survey 2017, Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East and BMG Research

Housing

  • ​There are 155,370 dwellings in Cheshire West and Chester and an estimated 145,000 households.  85% of dwellings are privately owned [Ref41].
  • Almost a third of households (30%) are single person households [Ref42].
  • The average property price in the borough at April 2018 is £201,166, an increase of almost £12,000 in the 12 month period. This is lower than the average UK property price of £226,906 [Ref43].
  • The average monthly rent for a ‘room’ in the private rental market is £376 compared to £401 in England [Ref44].
  • At 1 April 2017 there were 3,570 applicants registered on our housing waiting list, showing the extent of local demand for social rented housing [Ref45].
  • At October 2017, there were approximately 4,160 empty homes in the borough, 1,750 of which have been empty for more than six months [Ref46].  The Council aims to bring 900 empty homes back into use by 2021 [Ref47].
  • Over the seven years from 2010-2017, on average around 1,200 new homes a year were built, with 29% being affordable housing (358 units per annum) [Ref48].
  • At least 1,100 new homes will be built each year until 2030 [Ref48].
  • The borough’s housing stock is in relatively good condition; 80% of the borough’s private homes meet the decent homes standard, compared to 75% of all private dwellings in England. However, rates of disrepair are above the national average and are increasing, 13% of homes in the borough fail the repair requirement of the Decent Homes Standard compared to 5.5% [Ref49].
  • 22% of all private sector households (26,200 households) are classed as vulnerable households and a quarter of vulnerable households (7,300 households) live in non-decent homes [Ref49].
  • Highest levels of non-decency are in rural wards, pre 1919 housing stock, converted flats, and the private rented sector [Ref49].
  • 94% of residents believe their home meets their needs and those of their family [Ref23].

Ref23: Your Voice Matters Residents Survey 2017, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref41: Dwellings (2017) - Table 125: Dwelling stock estimates by local authority district: 2001 – 2017, Table 100 Dwelling stock: Number of Dwellings by Tenure and district, England; 2017, HCLG. Households (2017) 2014-based Household Projections, HCLG.
Ref42: Population forecasts, June 2017, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref43: UK House Price Index, April 2018, Land Registry
Ref44: Private rental market summary statistics: April 2017 to March 2018, Valuation Office Agency
Ref45: Numbers of households on local authorities' housing waiting lists – Table 600, 2017, DCLG
Ref46: All vacant dwellings by local authority district – Table 615, October 2017, DCLG
Ref47: Cheshire West and Chester Empty Homes Strategy 2016-2021
Ref48: Local Plan Annual Monitoring Report, 2017, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref49: Home Assistance Policy 2014/2018, Strategic Housing and Commissioning, Cheshire West and Chester Council

Business and the economy

  • There are over 14,495 businesses [Ref50] - that employ over 149,500 people in Cheshire West and Chester [Ref14].
  • In 2016 there were 1,935 business start-ups [Ref50].
  • From 2011 to 2016 there was a 43% increase in business start-ups (60% in England) [Ref50].
  • The level of gross value added (GVA) per resident in the borough in Cheshire West is £27,900 measured as income per head of population which is above the average in England of £27,060 [Ref51].
  • Around a third of residents don’t know what impact Brexit will have on themselves (30%) or their local area (35%). 21% feel that it will have a positive impact on themselves and 18% on the local area. 33% feel that ‘Brexit’ will have a negative impact on both. The remaining residents feel there will be no impact either on themselves (16%) or the local area (14%) [Ref23].
  • A greater proportion of residents (53%) feel they are benefitting from regeneration across Cheshire West and Chester than in their local area (45%) [Ref23].
  • Over half of residents (52%) believe that the local economy as stayed the same over the last three years [Ref23].
  • 25% of Cheshire West businesses say they have increased the size of their workforce in the last 12 months, compared to 17% 2011 [Ref40]. 48% of businesses had vacancies in the past 12 months, 19% were ‘hard to fill’ [Ref40].

Ref14: Annual population Survey (APS) (2017). Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0.
Ref23: Your Voice Matters Residents Survey 2017, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref40: Cheshire Business Survey 2017, Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East and BMG Research
Ref50: Business demography and UK business counts from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0
Ref51: UK gross value added income approach (GVA, 2016), income approach: December 2017

Environment

  • ​58% of household waste is sent for reuse, recycling or composting (43.7% in England) [Ref52].
  • 462 kilograms of residual household waste per household (573 in England) [Ref52].
  • The Council’s 2017-18 performance measures around ‘cleaner streets’ – focusing on litter, fly-tipping, graffiti and fly-posting - achieved its targets for all four elements [Ref53].
  • CO2 emissions have decreased from 6739.5 kt CO2 emission in 1990 to 4054.1 kt CO2 emission in 2016, a 40% reduction in CO2 emission levels [Ref54].

Ref52: ENV18 – Local authority collection waste annual results table 16-17 Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Ref53: 2017-18 Year-End Review of Council Plan Performance, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref54: 2005 to 2016 UK Local and Regional CO2 emission, published 26 June 2018, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Transport and connectivity

  • ​Superfast broadband has been rolled out across the borough with the aim to moving to 99% in 2018 [Ref53].
  • 95% of businesses in Cheshire West say they had access to the Internet in 2017, with 50% having access to superfast Broadband [Ref40].
  • 81% of households have at least one car or van (74% in England and Wales) [Ref4].
  • 74% of our employed residents travel to work by car (63% in England and Wales) [Ref4].
  • At the time of the 2011 Census [Ref4], around 51,000 people travelled into the Borough to work and 52,800 travelled out.  Commuting resulted in a population decrease of 1,800 in Cheshire West and Chester.  The highest inflow of workers was from Flintshire and the highest out flow travelled to Cheshire East.
  • 16% of residents say that transport issues prevents them from participating in activities more often [Ref23].
  • 2% of ‘A’ roads should have been considered for maintenance in 2016/17 (this is lower than the 3% for England as a whole) [Ref55].
  • During 2014-16, there were 496 people killed or seriously injured on the roads, a rate of 49.5 per 100,000 which is higher than the England average of 39.7 per 100,000 [Ref56].
  • In the 2017 Resident’s Survey [Ref23], the condition of local roads was seen as one of the most important factors in making somewhere a good place to live but reported the lowest satisfaction score.  The Council’s 2017-18 performance measures however shows that the targets set for the condition of all types of road in Cheshire West and Chester are being achieved [Ref53].
  • 64% of residents are satisfied with the accessibility of buses for wheelchairs and pushchairs.  The biggest cause of dissatisfaction around bus services is the cost of fares, with 39% dissatisfied with this in their local area [Ref23].

Ref4: 2011 Census, Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0
Ref23: Your Voice Matters Residents Survey 2017, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref40: Cheshire Business Survey 2017, Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East and BMG Research
Ref53: 2017-18 Year-End Review of Council Plan Performance, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref55: Table RDC0120, Department for Transport Statistics, licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0
Ref56: Road accidents and safety statistics, Department for Transport

Crime

  • ​The total number of crimes recorded in Cheshire West and Chester is 25,788 in 2017 [Ref57].
  • In Cheshire West and Chester in 2017, the most common offence was a public order offence, violence with injury and criminal damage and arson [Ref57].
  • Over the last five years the greatest increase in number of offences is for public order offences, stalking and harassment, violence without injury and violence with injury. The greatest decreases over the last five years are for non-domestic burglary, vehicle offences and theft from the person [Ref57].
  • Improved Resident Survey [Ref23] results were recorded in 2017 regarding crime and anti-social behaviour – the 2017 survey found 94% feel safe in the daytime, and 61% at night, an increase from the 2011 Community Survey.

Ref23: Your Voice Matters Residents Survey 2017, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council
Ref57: Recorded crime data at Police Force Area Level, part of Crime in England and Wales: a year ending December 2017. Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0.

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