S I T TI BI
Registered at the Post Office as a Newspaper Est. 1893
INCORPORATED WITH THE CONGLETON AND MACCLESFIELD MERCURY
THURSDAY, 12th AUGUST, 2010.
INSIDE: OUR COMPREHENSIVE PROPERTY GUIDE FEATURING LOCAL ESTATE AGENTS
'Painful cuts' warning Readers'ViewsPages25-29 Page 57
What’s on... What’s gone...
Parking charge income shortfall
End of road for driving test centre By Chris Young
A dinosaur display of jaw-rassic proportions
Congleton’s driving test centre is to close.
The decision means that learner drivers will have to travel to Macclesfield, Crewe or Stoke to take their tests when it shuts in October.
The Driving Standards Agency has decided not to renew the lease on the West Street premises, which runs out soon.
One local instructor has said she is “absolutely gobsmacked” with the decision, and Congleton’s MP is already vowing to fight the closure.
The agency, run by the Department of Transport, is not obliged to run a centre in the town ecause of its relatively low population, but is required to provide a centre within 20 miles. The three closest centres all fall within 13 miles of Congleton.
The agency said the centre was not “cost effective” and was unsuitable for its customers.
On Friday it sent out letters to driving instructors informing them of the closure.
A sign has also appeared on the test centre’s window, although no public announcement has yet been made about the closure.
A statement from the agency to the “Chronicle” said: “We can confirm new arrangements for our customers in Congleton, including the loss of the current driving test centre in the town.
“The premises in West Street do not offer the services we would wish to offer our customers. It is poorly laid out and has no customer toilets.
“We are a self-financing organisation reliant on test fee income for the preservation of our services. This means we need to make sure we can deliver a people will have to be familiar with driving
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cost effective service.
“The expiry on the lease has given us the chance to review services in the Congleton area.
“The last day of testing in the centre will be on 29th October.”
There will be no job losses, as staff will be transferred to other test centres.
Instructor Lorraine Powell, who runs Learn With Lorraine, is disappointed with the decision, and told the “Chronicle:” “I am absolutely gobsmacked”.
She said: “It is a mammoth change in how and where we teach. It will cost us a lot more money and will mean we have to drive a lot more miles than we currently do. It is not good for the environment.
• —Turn to back page.
Walking with dinosaurs in Congleton: Mike Walley from Everything Dinosaur shows a 67 million year old tyrannosaurus jaw bone to Callum Seddon. Young visitors to Congleton Leisure Centre are being given the opportunity to see dinosaur fossils and other prehistoric remains this month. For the story and pictures turn to the back page. (“Chronicle” photo. 3214a/10).
Sex jobs ads banned following MP’s outcry
Congleton’s MP thanked the “Chronicle” and the constituency this week, after it was announced that a local campaign to ban sex industry job adverts from Jobcentres had been successful.
Fiona Bruce was “absolutely appalled” when she found out that a vacancy for an internet sex performer had been advertised in the Congleton Jobcentre in May.
The vacancy was for the explicit website Faceclick, a phone and internet sex chat page.
It was brought to the “Chronicle’s” attention by a woman in her early 20s, who after typing in her details into one of the terminals at the Wagg Street branch, was given the job specifics for the position of an internet sex performer.
The description said that the position was a home working vacancy, which required “explicit sexual dialogue” that may “cause embarrassment”.
Applicants had to be over 18, but it was open to men, women and couples and duties included the applicant being nude/semi nude.
The description also described the position as “a job with a difference” and said staff must be outgoing, friendly and confident.
It added: “Duties will involve informal chatting via webcam over the internet for the purposes of adult entertainment, along with any other activities you may feel comfortable with.”
Direct Gov, the government department responsible for Jobcentre plus, said it was legally obliged to advertise sex-related job vacancies, after a ruling in 2003, when Ann Summers took court action.
Speaking at the time Mrs Bruce said she thought that the law needed changing and vowed that she would be taking the issue up in Parliament.
Now nearly three months later, the minister for employment Chris Grayling has announced that most sex industry jobs would be banned from Jobcentres.
Mrs Bruce said she was “delighted” about the ban and said that it was down to the constituent who noticed the advert, and her local paper. • —Turn to back page.
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