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THURSDAY, 12th JANUARY, 2012.
Modest Mae honoured
Mayor's funeral Readers'ViewsPages22-25 Page 26
What’s on... What’s gone...
Greenkeeper crowned king
Pitch saved for weekend games after vandals hit
By Rachel Naylor Weekend games were nearly called off after the Vale Juniors FC pitch was churned up by “mindless vandals” who drove over it.
Dog walkers said that they saw a car driving in circles on the Back Lane pitch in Congleton on Thursday at around 10pm.
Club chairman Alex Lewis said: “We were lucky not to have games called off by the referee on grounds of health and safety.”
Simon Oliver, manager of the under 12s team, spent around four hours raking out the ruts to make it safe.
Mr Lewis, (40), of School Lane, Eaton, said: “It is soul destroying to come back from the Christmas break to find great quality playing surfaces ruined by mindless vandals who have decided to drive on the pitches.
“As usual around 15 games were taking place over the course of the weekend at Back Lane, including a number of important cup ties for the Vale Juniors teams.”
He added: “It is not just the impact on the games but also the safety of the players. We have had players from five years old up to adult age groups playing at Back Lane this weekend.
“If one of them was to break their ankle in a three-inch deep rut then it would be tragic for the player and the town as Back Lane would inevitably be deemed unsafe for sports.”
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In October, dog owners were condemned for dog mess left on the pitches. Mr Lewis said: “It is such a shame that the progress achieved with the dog fouling issue is being overshadowed by mindless idiots.
“I would like to thank the dog walkers, some of whom we spoke to on Friday and who were equally appalled.”
Last year, Mr Lewis said that although it was municipal land and he expected to share the fields with dog walkers, it was a “disgrace” that they didn’t take more care of it.
He said since the “Chronicle” report, the situation with dog fouling had improved dramatically but now there had been the vandal attack.
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The curtain goes up on Congleton Pantomime’s production of “Ali Baba” at Daneside Theatre this weekend. Getting ready to say “open sesame” here are, centre, David Podmore as Ali Baba; left, Chris Mann as Dame Rhum Baba and Emma Castle as Jasmina. The pantomime runs from Saturday for a week. Tickets are available by calling 01260 271095. (“Chronicle” photo. 210/12).
Two plans upset a peaceful patch
Plans for a radio mast and holiday homes have stirred up a quiet corner of Congleton.
Cheshire East Council received more than 100 complaints about the two applications for unrelated projects at Little Moss Farm, Priory Close in Mossley.
The 21m monopole telecommunications mast for O2 and Vodaphone would have four 3G antennas and two 300mm dishes. A 2.1m high fence and equipment cabinets were also in the plan.
Mr and Mrs Price of Little Moss Farm submitted an application to convert two redundant farm buildings into five holiday cottages.
In a letter of objection written with the support of governors, Sue Aston, headteacher of Mossley Primary School, said: “We believe such a proposal would pose a safeguarding risk to the children in our care due to multiple, unknown temporary residents that the cottage business would generate.
“The proposed site of the cottages is adjacent to the school field and outdoor classroom area.”
She said that all visitors to the school were CRB checked but that there would be no safeguards at the boundary.
Resident Anthony Carol, of Edge View Road, said: “Like many schools, Mossley is competing for pupils. If it comes to the choice of putting a child into the shadows of a telephone mast or into one without, I expect that most parents will elect for the one without.
“This could jeopardise the funding that this excellent school receives as pupil numbers fall.”
At a Congleton Town Council planning meeting on Thursday, Coun Jean Parry said: “There is a strong feeling among residents that this is a means of getting buildings on the site and that the applicant will eventually say holiday homes are not economically viable.”
Coun David Brown said that if the plans were approved, Cheshire East Council should put limits on how long people could stay there.
Regarding the phone mast, Coun Gordon Baxendale said it would be far enough from the school to not pose a risk.
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