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S I T TI BI
Registered at the Post Office as a Newspaper Est. 1893
INCORPORATED WITH THE CONGLETON AND MACCLESFIELD MERCURY
THURSDAY, 2nd SEPTEMBER, 2010.
INSIDE: OUR COMPREHENSIVE PROPERTY GUIDE FEATURING LOCAL ESTATE AGENTS
'Build by-pass in stages' Readers'ViewsPages23-26 Page 27
What’s on... What’s gone...
New council costs less
Youth charity has a rescue plan for centre
Jazzing it up with strings attached at 10 pubs in Congleton — and the beat could heat up next year
By Chris Young Plans to make Congleton’s Fellowship House the first council-run service to be taken over by a community group should soon be finalised.
Youth charity Visyon lans to use the Park Road uilding as a community wellbeing centre for elderly, youth and family groups.
But the centre will not be refurbished and ready to open ntil next August so Visyon hopes to work with Cheshire East Council to try and keep it open for community use until then.
The head of Visyon told the “Chronicle” that the charity would integrate the needs of current users, including Congleton Visually Impaired
Club, Fellowship House Dance Club as well as luncheon clubs and disabled groups, with those of new organisations and charities that want to be based in the underused hall.
Cheshire East is in the process of reviewing some of its services, including community centres, with the possibility of transferring them to local organisations or town councils in a bid to reduce its budget deficit.
Fellowship House has been one of the unitary authority’s priorities during this process, as demand for the centre has dropped in recent years.
At a public meeting in March, users were told the council wanted to keep it open, but was having difficulty justifying its existence because it was used just two days a week. The council said its future might instead lie in the hands of local groups.
Last month Visyon, currently based in the old council offices on Market Square, met other groups interested in becoming involved in running the centre.
They include Congleton Baptist Church, Ruby’s Fund, a charity dedicated to developing a sensory play area in the town, and Home Start, a family welfare charity.
Joanne Speed, chief executive of Visyon, said: “We all met to discuss how we could work together and things like running costs.
“We agreed that Visyon would be the main organisation that would take on the running of the building.”
Cheshire East Council will discuss the legal issues of the proposed transfer in the coming weeks. At the same time, Visyon will apply for a grant to carry out a feasibility study into how much it will cost to turn the building into a community wellbeing centre, including refurbishments and repairs.
• —Turn to page 27.
And all that jazz: three-piece band String Fing had shoppers dancing in the street when they swung into town for the Congleton Jazz and Blues Festival at the weekend. For more pictures and a report, turn to page 31. (“Chronicle” photo. 3506c/10).
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‘Brave’ woman refused to hand over her keys to carjacker, court told old nephew Anthony Gibson, of Farmer Street, Stockport, set out from Wythenshawe on the morning of the incident.
A career criminal who led his nephew on a drunken stolen car spree from Stockport to Holmes Chapel claimed he just wanted to drive to Glasgow to see his children.
Chester Crown Court heard on Thursday how Christopher Gibson, (51), from Newhay Road, Wythenshawe, took a car without consent and drove while disqualified, before attempting to carjack another vehicle from a Congleton woman on 11th May.
According to his barrister, Gareth Roberts, the defendant, who suffers from alcoholism, made a “stupid drunken” decision to drive to Glasgow — it was not a pre-planned offence.
They asked acquaintances Valerie and Wilfred Hodgkinson to give them a lift to Tesco in Stockport. When they arrived, they asked Mr Hodgkinson to go into the supermarket for them. While he was gone, they leant over Mrs Hodgkinson, took the keys and told her to get out of the car.
She thought they were joking, but it quickly became clear that they were serious, so she got out of the vehicle — a Renault Mégane — and they drove off.
Mr Hodgkinson phoned them twice telling them to return the car but they said they would be back within the hour.
Prosecuting, Simon Parry told the court that Christopher Gibson, who was joined by his 25-year• —Turn to page 27.
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