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THURSDAY, 17th MARCH, 2011.

Town's best kept secret

Scouting for leaders Readers'ViewsPages22-26& 35 Page 30

Page 31

What’s on... What’s gone...

Pages 18-21

Gulliver's giveaway

Page 19

Council made mistake over Stock tender By Chris Young

Aid for earthquake victims

Cheshire East Council has been forced into a U-turn over the Stock at the Pavilion restaurant in Congleton Park, after it made a mistake during the tendering process.

The council had awarded a five-year contract to run the restaurant to Echelon Group, a Merseyside-based company, instead of giving it to the Congleton women who now run it.

Its decision caused outrage, because the authority had chosen outsiders despite romoting the importance of acking local enterprise. The “Chronicle” was inundated with letters of support for Louise Probert and Lisa

Whitehurst who run Stock, while condemning Cheshire East.

But this week the council admitted the way it had awarded the tender to the Echelon Group was wrong and that the process would have to start again.

A statement from Coun Andrew Knowles, cabinet member with responsibility for health and wellbeing, said: “The council is required to comply with both UK and European procurement law when contracting with third parties. A review of the procurement process has revealed that a mistake has been made, which has made it impossible to lawfully award a contract.

“The council has therefore concluded that in order to comply with its obligations under the procurement rules, it must terminate the above procurement.

“All of the parties involved are being contacted to advise them that we have had to abandon the procurement.”

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He added: “The council remains committed to tendering for services at the parks cafes, and it will give notice in due course of its further intentions in this respect.”

Miss Probert said that although the decision did not mean Stock was guaranteed to carry on at the restaurant, it showed the strength of community support.

She told the “Chronicle:” “We are absolutely over the moon with what we have achieved. We have succeeded in what we set out to do. Now we want to be able to get on with our business. There are only three weeks left on our present contract, so I hope things get sorted soon. Our main concern is that the restaurant isn’t left closed while this process goes on.

“We won’t rest until we get our signatures on the paper.” • —Turn to back page.

Mother fears for her daughter and family in Japan nuclear scare

A Congleton mother fears for the safety of her daughter in Japan and is hoping she will flee a potential nuclear disaster and come home.

Fran Surtees, of Sandingham Road, Buglawton, is concerned for her daughter, Joanne Ebisujima, who lives in Saitama, north of Tokyo, with her husband, Yasutoki, and their fiveyear-old son, Leo.

Although the family was unharmed by Friday’s earthquake, Mrs Surtees said she feared the radiation crisis.

She said: “Jo used to live in Kitakami, where the Tsunami happened, so at least they’re not there.

“They’re safe at the moment, unless the radiation kicks off big time.

“I’m hoping she comes back to the UK now.”

Mrs Ebisujima grew up in Flood Cottage, Rock End, Biddulph Moor and attended Biddulph High School before completing an electronic imaging degree in Bradford.

She moved to Ja an in 2001 to teach English, although she now stays at home and runs an online haberdashery store.

Speaking of her earthquake experience, she told the “Chronicle”: “It was a normal sunny afternoon. My son had just returned from kindergarten when everything started to shake.

“We have a living room light with a dangling switch — my point of reference for earthquakes. It was swinging a lot.”

Mrs Ebisujima realised it was not the kind of tremor they were used to, so grabbed Leo and opened the front door. • —Turn to back page.

Caring Congletonians have sprung into action following the shock news of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on Friday. And thanks to the Rotary Club of Congleton, aid boxes are already on their way to the disaster-struck region. Pictured above with one of the Aqua Boxes bound for the Far East are Kate Bonney, Denis Murphy, Ernie Clarke, Doug Parker and Rotary Club of Congleton president Rtn Reg Nield. For the full story turn to page 30. (“Chronicle” photo. 1136/11).

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