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28 The Chronicle, Thursday, 19th November, 2009. www.chronicleseries.co.uk
One man and his dogged determination to clean up the streets of Congleton
By Lyndsey Telford A Congleton man is challenging Cheshire East Council in an effort to combat the problem of dog fouling.
John Crowther, of Ennerdale Drive, said he was prepared to stop
aying his council tax until something was done.
He said the council should enforce harsher penalties on the dirty dog owners, suggesting: “They should face serious consequences that will make them more responsible for their actions.”
Mr Crowther’s past encounters with fouling on the streets of Congleton have
been close to home. His four-year-old son has trodden in the mess several times on his way into Marlfi elds Primary School — as have other pupils.
Mr Crowther said: “Kids are treading in it and bringing it into school on their clothes and shoes, and sitting in it on the fl oor.”
Mr Crowther asked head teacher Sandra Isherwood for help, hoping she would have some clout with the council, but he said no progress had been made so far.
He highlighted West Street and Wagg Street as particularly affected areas, as well as a path near his home where he and his wife like to go walking: “It’s horrible, it’s a mess,” he said.
Mr Crowther said there seemed to be a lot of dogs in the town: “I’ve seen people with as many as four or fi ve dogs out walking at
a time. Some of the owners have more dogs than kids.”
Hoping that the culprits could be caught on surveillance cameras, Mr Crowther contacted the council over a “pile of mess” outside Wetherspoons on Swan Bank. He was told the camera did not give a strong enough image to identify dog owners.
Mr Crowther feels so strongly about the problem that he threatened: “I’m prepared to stop paying council tax until something is done to solve this problem — no matter what the consequences are for me.”
A council spokesman said the particular areas Mr Crowther had highlighted as trouble spots were cleaned two to three times a week by the street cleansing team.
He added: “However, considering this gentleman has come to the ‘Chronicle’ offi ce and complained, we are going to go out there this afternoon (Thursday) to see for ourselves if the dog mess is as bad as he has claimed.”
I like beer, people like it, so save the pubs says MP
More than six pubs a day are closing down, which Macclesfi eld MP Sir Nicholas Winterton described as “tragic”.
Sir Nicholas, husband of Congleton MP Ann Winterton, had asked a Parliamentary question about the number of public houses that had closed in the last 12 months. He was told by culture minister Gerry Sutcliffe that British Beer and Pub Association fi gures estimated that 2,377 pubs had closed over the period, previous 12 months. That averaged at 6.5 pubs a day.
Sir Nicholas said: “This is a tragedy. In many urban areas outside towns and in many rural areas, the pub is the only social community facility.
“Will the Government introduce policies to try to preserve
ubs in this country, even if that goes against its inclination to increase tax on beer?
“Beer is a popular British tradition. I like it, people like it, let
s keep it.” Mr Sutcliffe said that tax was a matter for the Chancellor and the Treasury but said the Government supported community pubs where it could.
He said: “We have to accept that there has been a change in drinking culture, with people having different drinks, but we certainly want to support communi
ty pubs, and we will do our best to make sure that we do so.”
In another Parliamentary question, Sir Nicholas also asked for changes in the beer tie regime (under which landlords can deal only with certain companies).
He said: “The beer tie is valuable and necessary in respect of small and family breweries, but damaging and unnecessary in respect of pub companies and larger breweries.” He asked if the Government would ask the Offi ce of Fair Trading to make a referral to the Competition Commission “setting the bar far higher than in previous cases”.
Minister for consumer affairs Kevin Brennan said: “The OFT has made a decision on the super-complaint made by the Campaign for Real Ale about that issue. We are studying carefully the detail of the findings and are quite encouraged by some of the industry activity over the summer.
“It is too early to decide whether the Government should intervene, but we are encouraging parties to work closely together and to deliver on their commitments. We will be monitoring the situation closely.”
The OFT decision he referred to followed a complaint from real ale group Camra, which was
rejected by the Offi ce of Fair Trading last month.
The OFT examined the issue of tied pubs and ruled that they did not restrict competition.
Camra had said that the tie forced landlords to pay up to 50p per pint more than they would be charged by another brewer.
Assembly aims to improve our quality of life
Organisations from all over Cheshire East came together last week for the area’s fi rst local strategic partnership assembly.
A priority for the assembly was ensuring the best possible quality of life for residents.
More than 150 people met at Tatton Park, in Knutsford, to discuss how the partnership can work together to address the challenges facing Cheshire East’s many different communities, identifying local issues and coming up with local solutions.
The assembly was the fi rst time that partners from the public, private, business, community and voluntary sectors had all come together in one place, allowing informed discussion around the future vision for the area.
MEP Mexican-waved ‘adios’ to money from his bank account
UKIP’s Euro MP for Congleton, Paul Nuttall is telling tourists to be careful when using their credit or debit cards in cash machines while abroad as he has ust discovered he has been a victim of card cloning.
vious day to steal hundreds of pounds.
“Thanks to the effi ciency of the bank realising that I could not be in Mexico and Brussels on the same day the scam was stopped,” said Mr Nuttall.
He holidayed in Mexico in March but it was only this month that he discovered thieves had looted his bank account.
“It was only when I tried to se my bank card in Liverpool and it was blocked that I found out what had happened.
“I rang my bank and they explained that while I was in Brussels someone had tried to
se my card in Mexico, and had actually used it there the pre
“I’ve had to cut up my card and this has obviously caused me a lot of inconvenience. I just want to warn other travellers to make sure they take extra care when using cash machines and cover their pin number.
“It’s not easy to tell if the machine has been tampered with, enabling thieves to clone your card but you can try to ensure no one’s looking over your shoulder,” he said.
Following the assembly, it is now a question of ensuring that all the partners are on board, that services are delivered effectively and effi ciently and in a way that gives value-for-money and makes best use of the assets that each of the partners brings to the table.
The leader of Cheshire East Council and chairman of the partnership, Coun Wesley Fitzgerald, who opened the assembly said: “This partnership provides a wonderful opportunity, not only for the residents of the area, but also for all of the partners. It will ensure excellent service provision at a grass roots level and ensure our residents get the best and most effective deal.
“Together the partners cover the broadest range of skills and knowledge. Each has something to bring to the table and each has a specifi c place in the strategic aims of this partnership.”
Alexander’s winning work of art caused a commotion
Alexander with his painting. (“Chronicle” photo. 4717/09).
Apples and Pears Nursery, Smallwood, has become a hotbed for emerging artistic talent.
One of its pupils, Alexander Mackey, has been awarded the highly commended prize in the annual art competition run by Terra Nova Independent School, Twemlow, Holmes Chapel in con
junction with “Cheshire Life” magazine.
The theme of the four-yearold’s award-winning painting was Commotion in the Ocean, based on the children’s book by Giles Andreae.
All local nursery and preschool youngsters were invited to enter the competition, and Apples
and Pears alone submitted 20 impressive paintings.
Nursery owner and manage Sue Evans said she was very pleased with the standard of art produced by her tots.
“We’ve got some real budding artists here at Apples and Pears. They are the ones to watch in the future,” she added.
Hot spot patrols help to cut bonfi re season call-outs
Firefi ghters were called out to fewer incidents over the bonfi re period, according to fi gures released this week.
Cheshire’s fi refi ghters were called out to deal with around 142 bonfi res between 15th October and 6th November .
Chief Fire Offi cer Paul Hancock said: “While we are still verifying our offi cial statistics, initial reports look like we have once again seen a reduction in the number of bonfi re incidents. When you consider that only a few years ago the numbers exceeded 300 this really does represent a great improvement.”
A key element of this year’s campaign has been greater use of “midi” fi re appliances known as tactical response vehicles. These have been used to patrol known bonfi re hot spot areas and as well as acting as a deterrent, they have responded rapidly to nuisance bonfi res to prevent them from becoming a risk to the pub
“Their use for small nuisance fi res has also increased the availability of our main appliances and crews in the event of more serious emergencies,” added Mr Hancock.
The service started its bonfi re night preparations well in advance of the actual night by working alongside partners to remove unauthorised and potentially dangerous bonfi res.
The service also visited local businesses to give them advice about storing rubbish to make them a harder target for would be arsonists. Mr Hancock added: “Our aim is not to stop people from having fun, it is about keeping people safe as they enjoy what should be a fun family event. We know all too well the devastating impact the misuse of fi re and fi reworks can have and so are committed to doing all we can to prevent it.”
Public invited to health meeting
Members of the public are invited to attend the Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trust’s Board Meeting on Tuesday. It starts at 2pm at Ashfi elds Primary Care Centre, Middlewich Road, Sandbach.
Meetings are held regularly at various venues in the trust area. The public is welcome to watch the debates and listen to discussions about health care services.
For a copy of the agenda for the November meeting or for information about future meetings, telephone 0800 5877888.
British fi rms are Olympic winners, MP Ann told
UK companies have picked up 98% of the work for Olympic contracts, Ann Winterton has been told in Parliament.
Minister Tessa Jowell told the Congleton MP that “excellent progress” was being made on the Olympic Delivery Authority’s construction programme, both at the Olympic Park in East London, and other venues around the country.
“Order books are being fi lled all around the country, with 98% of construction contracts having
one to UK com anies ” she said.
Badge of honour for fi rms that train apprentices
A scheme has been launched to recognise fi rms in Cheshire that employ apprentices.
The fi rms can display a badge and their logos will be displayed on an apprenticeship website.
Recent research, commissioned by the National Apprenticeship Service asked a sample of 36 consumers in Cheshire what factors they considered when buying products o services.
The results showed that 64% of consumers would use a registe enabling them to choose a business that hired apprentices and 87% were more likely to use a business if it offers apprenticeships.
Sue Price, North West regional director for the service said: “The badge scheme will demonstrate which businesses support young people through offering apprenticeships and will add to the numerous benefi ts apprentices bring to a business.”
Theft from car
A window was smashed and items stolen from a car parked on Brook Street, Congleton, between 10pm last Wednesday and 8am the next day. Residents asked to support the poultry farm protestors
The Chronicle, Thursday, 19th November, 2009. www.chronicleseries.co.uk 29
Junior council members chew over gum problem
By Steph Barnett Members of Lamberts Lane Action Group in Congleton are urging
eople to join their campaign against a 6,000-bird poultry farm after plans for it were
Landowner Joseph Eckert, via his agent Ian Pick, had previously submitted plans for the free-range egg unit, which were turned down. But following another refusal last month, Mr
Eckert is fi ghting back.
Plans for the unit off Lamberts Lane, Congleton, were fi rst submitted in 2007 when they were refused, and after another plan was withdrawn last year, a new scheme involving twice as
A helping hand to light Santa’s way into town
Switched on children have een busy making lanterns for the parade which marks the start of Congleton’s Christmas lights extravaganza.
Year four pupils at Buglawton Primary School, Congleton, worked alongside lights switch-on organisers Congleton Community Projects in a workshop last Wednesday to create 3D lanterns for this year’s event.
The seven and eight-year-olds sed willow withies, tissue paper and LED lights to make their lanterns, which will be carried through the now traditional procession in the town.
Around 200 lanterns were created, which the children were able to paint and decorate themselves to add a personal touch.
Jo Money of Congleton Community Projects was on hand to help.
She said she was very impressed with the children, describing them as “a hardworking and polite bunch”. “They were absolutely lovely to work with and they really put the effort into their creations.”
With their lanterns are, from left, Harry Machin, Georgia Mole and Holly Barker. (“Chronicle” photo. 4712/09).
Eco-school has got its energy costs covered
Now in its 15th year, the lantern procession lights the way for Santa as he makes his way through Congleton.
She added: “Many people who made lanterns and joined in the event as children when the tradition fi rst started are now bringing their own kids to do it too.”
But it is not only school pupils who are invited to make lanterns for the Christmas procession.
While free workshops are offered across Congleton schools, which are subsidised by the town’s Inclosure Trust, there are workshops open to the public at Victoria Mill.
One was held last weekend and another has been scheduled to take place on Saturday between 10am-4pm.
Congleton’s Christmas lights will be switched on next Friday, 27th November.
Miss Money said it will be an evening to remember and will include everything from craft and hot food stalls to live entertainment.
She said: “The Congleton Motorcycle Club will even be
resent, so there really is something for everyone.”
Santa is due to switch on the Christmas lights at 5.45pm following the lantern procession through town.
There will be a fi rework display and entertainment will continue in the town centre until 7.30pm.
Bright sparks at Buglawton Primary School officially switched on £20,000 worth of solar panels on Monday.
The Co-operative group had co-funded the eco friendly power generators, which will be installed on the school’s roof, and the group’s mascot Sunny Solar joined pupils on the day.
The remaining money for the scheme had come from the Government’s low carbon building programme.
The school was one of 80 across the country to be chosen for the scheme based on the building’s suitability.
Carole Beech, manager of The Co-operative food store in Buglawton, said: “This clean, silent technology will help educate Buglawton Primary’s pupils about green energy as well as reducing the school’s reliance on fossil fuels.
“We hope the switch-on of these rooftop solar panels will give the whole community a jolt by sending out a strong message about the urgent need to do what we can to tackle climate change.”
The 24 photovoltaic panels should generate around 3,300 kWh of electricity each year — enough to power a school computer for 33,000 hours or to make 180,000 cups of tea for thirsty teachers. It will
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Here comes the sun. Aimie Krinks with Sunny Solar and one of the solar panels. (“Chronicle” photo. 4724/09).
save around two tonnes of carbon dioxide, and pupils can keep track of how much energy the panels are generating and carbon dioxide they have saved by checking a monitor in the school building.
Year 3 pupil Lucy Vernon said: “At Buglawton we know it’s important to look after our planet and the solar panels are our way of helping to do this.”
Proud Headteacher Pam Simpson added: “We are proud to be among the schools leading the way on renewable energy through this generous Co-operative scheme.
“We are already working hard to reduce the school’s carbon footprint and switching on these rooftop solar panels will instantly boost our efforts while sending out a strong message about our commitment to helping the environment.”
many chickens was refused last month.
The plans were opposed on several grounds, included the affect on the great crested newt population, the narrow profi t margins and the possible effect that traffi c travelling to the site could have on the grade-two listed Snailly Bridge.
Other issues included the general affect on wildlife, smell and pollution and the affect on a bridleway that follows a nature trail.
Each time the plans have been submitted, they have met resistance from Congleton Town Council, and local residents, who have written over 200 letters of objection.
Following the unanimous refusal of the plans at a Cheshire East Council Southern Planning Committee in October, Mr Eckert has now appealed the decision.
An action group spokesman said: “At the time of the meeting Mr Eckert had his chance to stand up and tell Cheshire East Council his views.
“He had five minutes to do this, which is more than most people get, and he just walked away, but now he has decided to appeal the decision.
The spokesman added: “The plans were refused on three grounds and although Mr Eckert has tried to refute these claims, there is substantial evidence to support them.
“The first refusal was regarding the great crested newts and although Mr Eckert has tried to say the population will not be effected, a survey done by the ecological consultancy, Ecology First, shows that many species of bird prey on newts, and they believe that the population is very likely to become extinct in the site.
“The second issue was the figures and the third reason for refusal was the bridge, which is 180 years old and grade-two listed.
“There is also the issue of the bridleway which is used by many people and the pollution which could flow into Howty Brook, and discharges into the River Dane.”
The plans for the egg unit will now go before a planning inspectorate, which will consider written evidence from the council, the appellant and any other interested parties.
Cheshire East councillor Dave Brown said: “This site would have such a negative effect on the local community.
“There are so many reasons to refuse this site and they are all valid, but the planning inspectorate needs to hear comments related to planning issues, so anyone writing in should focus on the planning issues with the farm.”
Anyone who wishes to make any comments can write to the Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/18a, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN, quoting the reference number APP/R0660/A/09/2115369/ NWF, and enclosing three copies of the letter, if possible.
People can also comment via the internet at planningportal.gov.uk/pcs
All comments must be received by Friday, 4th December, or they will not be seen.
Documents relating to the appeal can also be viewed at the Cheshire East Council offices, at the Municipal Buildings in Crewe, from 9am–5pm, Monday to Friday.
Chloe with her chain of offi ce. (“Chronicle” photo. 4648a/09).
The dignifi ed offi ce of Congleton Town Mayor was conferred on a 10-year-old last week.
Although only a junior version of the real role, the process followed proper procedure and Chloe Parrish, from Quinta School, was given an appropriate version of the chain of offi ce.
Casting the votes were members of the Congleton Junior Council, which is comprised of primary school pupils. Every six months the group holds its own meetings in Congleton Town Hall, where they elect their own young mayor.
The latest meeting was held last Wednesday during which Ethan Hassall, (10), also from Quinta, was chosen as deputy mayor.
Real Mayor Ernie Clarke was on hand to offer advice to Chloe and the rest of the young council.
The meeting was held on the morning of Armistice Day, and
at 11am Coun Clarke led the junior council and members of town council staff in a two minutes’ silence.
One of the items discussed was how young people could dispose of chewing gum. Junior councillors pointed out that Macclesfi eld had facilities to get rid of gum in bin-free areas, but Cheshire East Council had made no such provision for Congleton.
Coun Jeanne Whitehurst, who attended the meeting, said: “Some of the ideas they came up with were very interesting. They thought of designs for cardboard cups that could be handed out when children buy gum.”
The council voted to write to Cheshire East informing it of thei discussions.
Also on the council’s agenda was the contest to design a logo for “Team Congleton,” a group dedicated to bringing the excitement of the 2012 Olympics to the town.
Coun Clarke congratulates Chloe and Ethan. (“Chronicle” photo. 4648b/09).