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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, 20th MAY, 2010.
INSIDE: OUR COMPREHENSIVE PROPERTY GUIDE FEATURING LOCAL ESTATE AGENTS
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Astbury May Day Readers' Views Pages 22-24 Page 56
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MP Fiona's first days
Marks sparks hope that other big name stores might follow
By Chris Young A major retail chain has announced it will be opening a new food store in Congleton.
But it won’t be just any new food store — it will have “Marks & Spencer” above the door.
This week the high street giant announced plans to open a 9,000 sq ft “Simply Food”
ranch at Congleton Retail Park on Barn Road.
It will move into a section of the existing Focus DIY store. That is being downsized and the building divided into two separate shop-
The “Chronicle” asked Marks and Spencer why it has chosen to come to Congleton and how many obs are likely to be created, but a spokesman said she was unable to confirm any details.
She said: “We are unable to rovide further information at the moment other than that the contracts have recently been signed.”
A planning application by Foden Investments to turn the Focus store into two separate retail units was approved last month.
Town centre manager Jackie MacArthur said the announcement by M and S showed that the town could still attract big names, adding: “It demonstrates their belief in the Congleton economy and should encourage other national brands to consider Congleton.”
New Congleton Mayor David Brown was happy the town had attracted a major new retailer, but would have preferred it to be in a more central position.
He said: “Looking at empty shops on High Street, it would have been nice to have them in the town centre, but it is nice to attract a company like this to Congleton. It is fantastic news for the town that Marks and Spencer want a presence here.”
He said the town council should now look at how to attract out-of-town shoppers, who will go to the new store, into Congleton town centre.
He added: “We should exploit
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www.congletonglass.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org the walkways into the town, the challenge will be to get people to come into the town centre and support our independent retailers.”
Susan Blakeman, from greengrocers RJ and J Moore on Mill Street, said: “It would have been better if they opened a shop in the middle of town. We really want a business like that to come into the main shopping area now that Ethel Austin has closed. It is a big shop and there are lots of other empty shops in the town centre.”
Sharon King of King’s Party Emporium on Bridge Street, was happy businesses were moving into the town, but would have also preferred a Marks and Spencer to be more central. She said: “There are pros and cons to this. It is a shame Marks and Spencer didn’t look to move to a site in the town centre.
“I don’t know whether as a shopper I would travel to Barn Road for a few food items.”
The announcement comes shortly before another retail giant begins the expansion of its Congleton branch. Tesco, also based on Barn Road, was given planning permission to expand by 10,000 square foot in 2007, and work is due to begin in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile Domino’s Pizza is waiting to hear if it will be granted planning permission to open a franchise on Barn Road, replacing Alfresco café.
Last month discount retailers Aldi were given planning permission to build a new food store at West Heath Retail Park.
Sex performer job ad is appalling says MP
Jobseekers in Congleton are being offered “a job with a difference” — performing “explicit sexual” activities on the internet.
The vacancies are for explicit website Faceclick, a phone and internet sex chat page that offers “100% satisfaction, 100% of the time” and to fulfil users’ “every need.” One section of the site is called “Just Legal”.
Newly elected Congleton MP Fiona Bruce said she was “absolutely appalled” by the advert in the town’s Jobcentreplus, and vowed to raise her concern in Parliament.
It was brought to the “Chronicle’s” attention by a woman in her early 20s, who after typing her details into one of the terminals at the Wagg Street branch, was given the job details for an internet sex performer.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, was so shocked that she brought a printout of the advert into our office.
The job description said: “This is a home working vacancy. Duties involve explicit sexual dialogue that may cause embarrassment to some people.
“Duties require the successful applicant to be nude/semi nude.
“A job with a difference. Must be outgoing, friendly and confident. Duties will involve informal chatting via webcam over the internet for the purposes of adult entertainment, along with any other activities you feel comfortable with.”
The applicants are offered the possibility of earning up to £100 a day.
Direct Gov, the government department responsible for Jobcentreplus, said that they are legally obliged to advertise sexrelated job vacancies, following a ruling from 2003 when adult store Ann Summers took court action.
Saskia Grapel, press office for Jobcentreplus, said: “Before 2002 we did not advertise jobs in the adult entertainment industry. Ann Summers took us to court saying they should be able to advertise their jobs with us.
“We have strict safeguards when they are advertised. Staff won’t recommend them to people and they won’t lose their benefits if they don’t take them.
“We are aware of the concerns and have launched an inquiry into this issue.”
When informed of the advert, Mrs Bruce said: “I am absolutely appalled by this, and I will look into it straight away. If it is correct that the job centre is legally obliged to advertise this vacancy, then the law needs changing.
“I will be taking this up in Parliament.”
Georgia Wilshaw was crowned Astbury May Queen by Rector Jonathan Sharples on Saturday. And it was an extra-special day for the village which celebrated its 150th May Day in the presence of past Queens. For the full story and more pictures turn to page 29. (“Chronicle” photo. 2011k/10).
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