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THURSDAY, 28th JUNE, 2012.
MP joins pub fight
No to exam changes Readers'ViewsPages24-29 Page 30
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Tributes to Beckie 18
A train station revamp but no extra services
By Chris Young Congleton’s train station is to have a £500,000 upgrade to meet a surge in the number of commuters heading for Manchester and other cities.
The resulting pressure on the car park means the Department for Transportfunded improvement project will include an extra 60 spaces, increasing the total to more than 100.
Currently there are 35 parking spaces on the official car ark. A larger, overspill area that is riddled with potholes and not marked out will be turned into a proper car park with 63 spaces.
The “Chronicle” has been told there are no plans to bring in charges.
There will also be more lighting, CCTV and information points with the work due to finish by summer 2013.
Announcing the upgrade last week, Network Rail said: “Larger cities such as London, Manchester, Leeds and others have experienced significant increases in city centre employment.
“This has contributed to the strong and sustained growth in rail demand experienced over the past 15 years.
“Rail growth is forecast to continue to increase substantially, and accommodating additional demand will be essential if sustainable, cityled economic development is to continue.
“This increasing rail patronage has, in turn, led to a surge in demand for passenger car parking.”
Chris Dale, of East Cheshire Rail Users’ Association, regularly uses the station and told the “Chronicle”: “I think it is still the original station that was built in the 1960s. Nothing has been done to improve it for many years. New parking facilities are something we have been chasing for a long time. Anything that improves the capacity of that station is a good thing — I think there is a lot of onstreet parking in the areas around the station.”
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‘Bypass and more houses will make Congleton thrive’
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A business leader says Congleton needs a bypass and more houses if it is to thrive.
Andrew Pear, managing director of Reliance Medical at the Radnor Park industrial estate envies Middlewich, which is to have a bypass after Cheshire East Council gave the go-ahead on Monday.
It is claimed the bypass would improve traffic flow through the town and encourage businesses to move to the Midpoint 18 business park.
Mr Pear also supports Congleton Town Council’s town plan (to be ratified by Cheshire East Council) which calls for 3,500 new homes in and around Congleton in the next 20 years — many earmarked for greenbelt or rural areas. Mr Pear said expansion would ensure the future of Congleton and make sure the town was big enough to justify facilities such as a cinema.
He said “If we increase the population of the town we increase the amount of business in the town centre, and it makes projects in the town a lot more appealing to developers.
“I think it would be win-win for Congleton. At the moment we are an awkwardly sized town. Everything just about makes it. Nothing really thrives. That extra population would mean the town goes from just surviving to thriving.
“If Congleton doesn’t take these opportunities we will get absolutely nothing. The rising population has to go somewhere, let’s take the opportunity to decide where it goes and use the developers to help provide the roads we need.”
Mr Pear has joined Link 2 Prosperity, which aims to drum up support for a bypass that would encourage employers to move to Congleton and persuade expanding businesses to stay. Congleton Town Council backs the group’s aim.
Mr Pear said: “We have had terrific support from the business sector and we also seem to be getting a lot of support from the town centre businesses.
“In some cases town centres fear bypasses will reduce traffic and customers, but in a way the town centre is already being bypassed by Mountbatten Way.
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In the stocks: Daniel Bracegirdle gets a soaking from Marcus Howard at Smallwood School summer fair on Saturday. Hundreds turned out to take part in the fun-packed day which included worm charming, wellie throwing and the annual bake-off. For more photos turn to page 18. (“Chronicle” photo. 2629a/12).
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