Full refund within 30 days if you're not completely satisfied.
THURSDAY, 21st JULY, 2011.
Homes to be refused?
Cool Chill Factore offer Readers'ViewsPages21-25 Page 26
What’s on... What’s gone...
Cyclist say farewell
Firms didn’t know about plan for business centre’s closure By Chris Young
Shocked business owners only learned the council-run building they are based in could be shut when they read about it in the “Chronicle.”
They now fear the lanned closure would “irreparably” damage their businesses if they are forced to re-locate.
Four companies are currently based in the Congleton Business Centre on Thomas Street, which Cheshire East Council elieves is being undersed. It can house up to 12 firms.
If the closure is approved y the council’s Cabinet next Monday, 1st August, the site could be sold to a housing developer and the money sed to pay for improvements at a similar centre in Crewe.
The building is owned by the council and is used for new starter businesses to establish themselves before moving on to more permanent premises. However, many of the businesses using it have been there for several years.
It is currently occupied by Balloon Box 2, Complete Kitchen and Bedrooms, security company Revsec and Cheshire Conversions.
Cheshire East said this week its councillors have spoken to traders at the business centres.
Thomas Street is one of four centres that recently underwent a council review. The three others, one in Sandbach and two in Crewe, will continue and the council plans to put more effort into promoting them.
The “Chronicle” reported on the plans earlier this month after the proposal was first made public. The centre’s tenants say this was the first they heard about its proposed closure.
Jill Lowe, owner of Balloon Box 2 said: “The impending closure has come as a complete shock to us as tenants, only learning about it from the ‘Chronicle’ article.
“My own business is well established at this location, and the threat of withdrawal of these premises in this unsettled financial climate and the cost of re-locating will damage my business irreparably.
“Our main road has easy access with ample free parking and is in a location envied by many local businesses. Why aren’t the council promoting the centre instead of condemning it?”
She added: “As a tenant since 1997 it would have at least been professional courtesy to inform me of the proposals.”
Roy Povey, from Complete Kitchen and Bathroom, said: “We have been a tenant here for eight years now. At no point have I been contacted to be informed that they wished to close the centre.
“Just where I go from here I just don’t know yet.
“I have, in the last three months, invested a lot of money in the business to bring it right up to date with new displays, and I feel most disappointed at a time when all small businesses need help from their local council they start closing the very properties that are here to help and support.”
But a council report into the centres said Thomas Street should: “be closed down and the building declared surplus to requirements and offered for sale on the open market, or alternatively be considered as a site for an affordable housing scheme.”
It added: “It is too small to be worth managing.”
Money raised through the sale would then be earmarked to refurbish Scope House — a business centre in Crewe.
Cheshire East’s Corporate
Scrutiny Committee met last Tuesday to discuss the proposal, but did not raise any objections. • —Turn to back page.
On your new bike! Rode Heath Primary School head teacher Ann Gill bids farewell to her pupils, and explained her choice of retirement gift with: “I have an energetic future ahead”. She has fond memories of her time with the school, recounted with warmth on the back page. (“Chronicle” photo. 3035/11).
Call us first and we’ll take care of everything
Accident & Emergency
24 Hr Recovery 07850 340192
burnsaccidentrepair centre good as new!
Visitors just can’t get enough of Bearmania
Congleton’s visitor numbers are thought to have increased 700% following the arrival of 65 life-size model bears in May.
The Bearmania trail, backed by local businesses, schools and Cheshire East Council, is proving a massive success in boosting tourism.
The trail challenges visitors to find the colourful bears as part of a campaign to bring more people into the market town.
So far, around 10,000 trail guides have been requested by visitors and a further 5,000 have been downloaded from the internet, suggesting around 15,000 people have visited as a direct result of the bears.
And now the local visitor information centre has noticed a growing demand for souvenirs.
Organisers, who are wearing brightly coloured pink T-shirts promoting Bearmania, are regularly being asked by tourists where they can buy one of the tops.
Other Bearmania merchandise includes teddy bears, keyrings and soaps — with more ideas still in the pipeline.
Congleton Coun David Brown, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member for performance and capacity, said: “We were confident the campaign would generate interest, but we were absolutely taken aback by the results.
“A 700% rise in visitor numbers is incredible and really shows that if you are creative enough in business, then anything is possible.
“The interest shown by the schoolchildren in following the bear maps and trails around town has been outstanding. These bears must be the most photographed bears in the country and have certainly proved a very good talking point in the local community.
• —Turn to back page.
Huge Reductions with All Brands Reduced by upto 50%
...service & more since 1904
7, High Street
Congleton Cheshire. CW12 1BN
Telephone: 01260 272 218