Parking charges could block disabled access
Dear Sir, — With the impending parking charges for Congleton town centre, may I draw your readers’ attention to the problems that may occur and to a lesser extent are happening know.
Please avoid parking over H-bar markings on the road. These markings denote no parking at any time as access is required and avoid parking over a dropped kerbs, as disabled people and
arents with buggies will not be able to safely cross the road.
This point is also very important as the dropped kerbs have a textured surface to alert visually impaired people that they have reached a crossing point and guide dogs are trained to recognise them as a crossing point and alert their owners to them.
We all understand that parking spaces will be at a premium, but ask the public to consider these important points when parking their vehicles even for a very short time. I thank your readers in advance of their co-operation.
SUE THORLEY Congleton Disabled Access
Raise council tax, ditch parking fees
Dear Sir — Parking charges. Surely it most be very distressing and irritating for anyone to incur a £50 fi ne for parking fi ve minutes over the time they have paid for. Six pounds seventy on the council tax would surely be a small price to pay for peace of mind.
I am sure it is very easy to inadvertently park fi ve minutes longer than intended. The council would not be losing fi nancially. They would save the cost of
arking metres and presumably extra traffi c wardens. — Yours faithfully,
When politics reared its ugly head on council
Dear Sir, — How I sympathise with Louise Beard!
I was elected to both Congleton Town Council and the old borough council in 1999 and was Town Mayor in 2001/2002.
At that time the town council was a mixture of Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors. There was a slight majority of Conservatives but
olitics was never at the forefront. All the councillors pulled together for the good of the town regardless of political party.
There was no proportional representation on the various committees — these were made
p of the people best suited to do the jobs.
It was understood that there was a leader of the council, but nothing “offi cial” as this was held
y the senior member, Coun John Pollard.
There were two county councillors who were not elected,
ut were ex-offi cio representatives of the county council and were there to keep the town council informed at the main council meeting on what was happening at county level. However, they only attended on very few occasions.
How different things seem now! Politics had started to rear its ugly head with the election of new councillors, who wanted
roportional representation on committees from a council made
p of 20 councillors: 16 Conservatives; three Lib Dems and one Labour councillor, regardless of whether they had
any experience in these areas.
What hope had the nonConservatives when they would always be overruled by the majority?
I felt that strong-arm tactics were often used in committee when councillors did not toe the party line, and to be honest this was the main reason why I did not stand for re-election after eight years on the council.
As far as the borough council went it did not take me long to realise that the “old boys’ club” is alive and well and very much in existence, and that councillors were expected to toe the party line whether it was for the good of the borough or not.
My fi rst experience of this was on one occasion when there was a named vote (ie not a show of hands but individual spoken votes).
I voted as my conscience dictated, but the rest of the Conservative councillors conveniently “abstained” as per instructions from the Conservative leader. The question of car parking charges was introduced many years ago, and even at that time I felt that this was a done deal, although the leader of the council Coun Domleo vigorously denied it.
We now have seemingly an “offi cial” leader of the town council, and several councillors who sit on both the town and East Cheshire councils. But where do their loyalties lie? How do they vote when town and borough policies are not the same? By what is right for the town or the borough? Or is it however their political allegiance lies?
How many of them stood up for the town against car parking charges (which are likely to kill off the town completely but which will provide additional income for the borough)?
I know several town councillors that are dissatisfi ed by the way the present council is run, and have been approached to stand for re-election again as an independent councillor who will stand against the old boys’ club. Yours faithfully,
SUE APPLETON Former Town Mayor, town and borough councillor.
Getting off on the wrong footnote?
Dear Sir, — I write in response to two letters headed “Demand for transparency over council spending” and “Council must tell us how it is spending tax payers’ money” that appeared in the 29th October edition of the “Chronicle”.
Both letters refer to fi nancial information being made available and in the fi rst, a claim is made that no response was given following a request from the “Chronicle”. A response was certainly given, but unfortunately not used.
The council has always been committed to openness and transparency in all of its work. Requests for information, whether fi nancial or otherwise are perfectly valid and reasonable. Indeed, a great deal of information is readily available on the council’s website at cheshireeast.gov.uk
However, for such detailed requests people need to contact us directly, using the Freedom of Information Act. This is the proper route; it is very easy to use and protects everyone’s right to information, including commitments from the council in speed of response.
The council takes every Freedom of Information request very seriously. We have an outstanding record in providing detailed responses to each and every one of them.
Requests under Freedom of Information must be made in writing, either by letter or email. To answer it we need the full name and address of the person requesting the information and clear details of the information requested.
There are two ways of making a Freedom of Information request: either electronically by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by letter to Freedom of Information, Cheshire East Council, Westfi elds, Middlewich Road, Sandbach, CW11 1HZ. — Yours faithfully,
RUSS GLENNON Head of Policy and
Performance, Cheshire East Council. ● Mr Glennon is wrong to state that “a response was certainly given, but unfortunately not used”. The “Chronicle” emailed the council asking for a comment for a footnote for the letter referred to, but none was received by the time the “Chronicle” went to press. It might be that Mr Glennon has been given confusing information over what was given to us for a story and what was sent following a request from the editor. We understand the council has had problems in its press offi ce and that such problems are now behind it (we had footnotes sent in last week) so we don’t want to start a row. However, it is untrue to state that we received a footnote and did not use it. — Editor.
Clamped car that cost grandmother more than £135
Dear Sir, — I would like to tell you about the recent mugging of a Sandbach pensioner on Thursday, 22nd October.
My wife’s mother went to park in Sandbach town centre, to the right of McColls, when she noticed a couple of signs. Not having her glasses on, she parked the car, got out to read the signs and in a matter of moments, she was approached by a stranger who told her that she was to be clamped as she was not allowed to park there.
Taken aback somewhat, she did not know quite what to do as there was no clamp on the car at that time but they told her to allow them to let her go, it will cost £135 cash.
Being of a certain generation, she went to the cash point and upon her return 10 minutes later, there was a clamp on the car then. The reason for placing the clamp on was as she had left the car. The annoying thing is that she left the car at their insistence to go and get the cash. If it had been a six foot rugby player, I daresay he would of just driven off before they placed the clamp on but not a 63 year old grandmother.
She had parked there for a number of years and only got out of the car to read these new signs. Her trip into Sandbach was to buy presents for her granddaughter who was being christened on the following Sunday at St Peter’s Elworth and her grandson who was six the following Wednesday.
After taking some of her pension out to allow her to buy the presents, she then had to withdraw the rest of her pension to pay these clampers. She was very distressed about the whole saga and had to have a sit down and cup of tea with Wills the Butchers. Indeed when she came around shortly after to tell my wife, she fainted in our home.
She also witnessed a young mum with several young children being clamped for a very similar offence of just not realising that she could not park there even for a few moments.
The police have been involved and did say that there has been a number of complaints but nothing, it seems, can be done. I believe that the clampers get £100 per time and the landlords £35 — nice money if you can get it.
Can you warn your readers about these clampers as a genuine error has cost a local grandmother not only the £135 but a lot of anxiety, stress and for what? — Yours faithfully,
Children waiting to be adopted
Dear Sir, — May I thank those of your readers who responded so magnifi cently to our invitation during National Adoption Week (9th-15th November) to fi nd out more about becoming adoptive parents. Here at Adoption Matters Northwest, the area’s local adoption agency, we’re grateful for the enquiries that are coming in to our network of adoption advisers in Chester.
Adoption is all we do. We’re pleased with the opportunity to help more people separate adoption myths from the real facts, and I hope that some may decide to go on with the application process.
Many callers are surprised that in the Northwest alone, there are as many as 600 children who, because of neglect, abuse or family breakdown, can no longer live with their birth families. Most move into the care system and stay there year after year. Some older and disabled children never receive a single enquiry.
The 600 include fi ve groups of four siblings, 13 groups of three children and no less than 98 groups of two.
Cheshire individuals and families have adopted thousands of children over the last years through our specialist agency, including sibling groups of up to fi ve children. May I appeal through your columns for more Cheshire people to now consider following their example, and take that fi rst step by contacting us and fi nding out more? Telephone 01244 390938, or visit adoptionmattersnw.org — Yours faithfully,
MP may as well be an honest gorilla
Dear Sir, — May I urge as many Congleton constituency residents as possible, particularly those like myself who have no party allegiance, to pre-register to attend the US-style “primary” on Saturday, 28th November at Congleton Town Hall. Details of registration are given in last week’s “Chronicle”.
Don’t be put off by requests for details of your political leanings, just ignore that section.
Why do I urge residents to attend? Well, as sure as eggs are eggs, the candidate selected will be our next member of Parliament. As I have said many times before, this constituency would elect a gorilla if it were wearing a blue rosette. Therefore, let’s make certain we get the member of Parliament we prefer, judged on principles of honesty, sincerity, humility and genuine service to the community.
Let’s face it; he or she will be our Member of Parliament for as long as they want, subject only to health constraints and keeping their nose clean. — Yours faithfully,
Invitation to see the Scouts and Guides gang show
Dear Sir, — The Scouts and Guides of Congleton are presenting their biennial Gang Show “Our Gang” at the Daneside Theatre opening on Saturday, 28th November and continuing from Monday 30th November to Saturday, 5th December.
The show is the biggest publicity event for the Scouts and Guides of Congleton. With a cast of 120, it is the largest production to be staged at Daneside Theatre on a regular basis. As the show is only a part of the scouting and guiding programme in the town it is staged on a two-yearly cycle and not annually.
May I through your columns remind eo le that 2009 is art
The Chronicle, Thursday, 19th November, 2009. www.chronicleseries.co.uk 23
of Girlguiding UK’s centenary year and could I also dispel the unfortunate yet usual rumours, which abound, that the show is already sold out.
We actually need to sell every seat to meet the ever-increasing costs of the show, which are again approaching £20,000 for this year’s production. So do come along and see “Our Gang” and support the Scouts and Guides of Congleton.
‘Near future’ novel
Dear Sir, — Any of you readers who were involved in the great English Electric/ICL mainframe computers (recall that KDF9 and System4 were in the Atomic Energy Authority and in all UK universities but three) may be interested in a book I’ve written, just out for Christmas reading.
At the time of writing, tickets are still available for all performances by contacting the Ticket Secretary on 01260 299264 or 07896 835725. — Yours faithfully,
NEIL H DUTTON Chairman, Scouts and Guides
Be aware of those little white lines
Dear Sir, — Be aware. I wonder how many of your readers are aware of the warning notices regarding parking properly at the underground car park at Morrisons supermarket in Congleton.
Last week I received a £50 fi ne. What was the reason? I had parked over a white line in a parking bay.
This was unintentional and had I realised that there were notices on the walls, warning of this, I would have made sure that I was parked within the lines. I was in a van at the time, so maybe there wasn’t a lot of space.
It’s a “near future” novel, and a heroine is one of the KDF range mainframes. Well, a 1960s mainframe — and the near future? How can the two go together? Read it and fi nd out.
It features also the grimly sinister Harecastle tunnels, Stoke City FC, ICL West Gorton, the ship-shattering shores of North Wales and the TNPG atomic power station at Trawsfynydd. And Cambridge, Uganda and its volcanoes, the deserts of Iraq, and Chesapeake Bay in the US.
For anyone who ever wielded a Jenkins-Fidgeon unipunch tears may come to the eyes! Yachties, divers, bikers, walkers, environmentalists, it’s for them.
It can be read online free at http://pointofdivergence.org.u (contributions to Oxfam o Tearfund invited) or in paperbac from Authorhouse or Amazon.
Cover design is by one Alan Sutcliffe, once of the Egdon project and Congleton, then New Range Systems Division manager, and later vice-chairman of the British Computer Society and a leading light in compute graphics. — Yours faithfully,
It is dark when you enter the care park and the object is to fi nd a suitable space to park, not to look up at walls and risk and accident.
The letter I received also stated that failure to pay the said amount in 28 days would result in referral to a debt collector.
I have shopped at Morrisons for a long while, now needless to say, I will on principal not be shopping there anymore. — Yours faithfully,
A raw deal for young people
Dear Sir, — The news that the UK has the highest youth unemployment rate in Europe exposes the Government’s complete failure to keep young people in work. Nearly one in fi ve of them are now not in work, study or training.
They and the Conservatives are also reviewing whether to increase the cap on tuition fees that already leaves so many of our graduates with a mountain of debt. There is also news that less than 20% of Disabled Students’ Allowance applications received for 2009-10 have been fully processed. This means that many disabled students are still waiting for funding to buy special equipment so they can do their courses.
Maitreya could have stopped wars
Dear Sir, — The sad thing is that all these latest skirmishes and wars, from the Gulf War to Iraq, to Afghanistan, need not have happened if only the BBC had set up and broadcast the press conference for the Christ Maitreya in early 1986.
After about 16 interviews with the BBC’s top executives, the BBC agreed to make a statement along the lines that a man claiming to be the Christ was in London and wished to meet with the world’s media representatives.
Pressure came from the established church and the BBC reneged on that agreement. Now of course, we await Maitreya’s initial interview (low key at fi rst) on a major United States television network. If was eve thus. — Yours faithfully,
SI T TI BI
The “Chronicle” welcomes all letters on all topics.
This potential triple whammy shows the priority both the other two parties place on the life chances of young people living in the Congleton area. They are growing up in a world that faces climate change, the rise of the economies of the Pacifi c Rim and the worst recession since the thirties. The very least we should do as a nation is give them the skills they need to enter the employment market.
The Liberal Democrats would abandon the pointless VAT cut. The cash would be much better used creating hundreds of thousands of work experience and internship placements. This would help young people get access to the workplace during the recession and improve their skills for when the recovery occurs. Our young people have received a raw deal from both the other two main parties. — Yours faithfully,
DR PETER HIRST
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesman for
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