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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, 29th APRIL, 2010.
INSIDE: OUR COMPREHENSIVE PROPERTY GUIDE FEATURING LOCAL ESTATE AGENTS
Buglawton plan approved
Bank holiday attractions Readers' Views Pages 22-25 Page 56
What’s on... What’s gone...
Cloud’s slopes are reduced to scorched earth
By Chris Young A black scar covering 15 acres has been seared into the side of The Cloud after a heather fire ripped across the landmark peak.
Flames 40-feet high leapt into the night sky on Saturday as 30 firefighters from across Cheshire tackled the blaze.
One eyewitness said: “I was watching the fire from Congleton and it looked like a volcano was erupting.”
Birds And although the hillside inferno spared nearby farms and houses, the National Trust fears the habitats of birds and other animals has been severely harmed.
An investigation into the cause is still underway.
Called Congleton firefighters were called to the Cloud at around 7.30pm on Saturday, and were soon joined by colleagues from Macclesfield, Biddulph, Sandbach, Northwich, Leek and Burslem.
John Griffiths, watch manager at Congleton fire station at the time the fire started, told the “Chronicle” that the fire brigade was at the scene for at least 12 hours.
He added: “The fire picked up with the wind, and was spreading about as fast as you could walk. At times the flames were as high as 40 foot.”
He said the uneven terrain of the Cloud made it difficult for firefighters weighed down by their equipment. He said: “As well as the danger of the fire there was a real chance of people falling down the hillside as there are no railings and it was dark.”
He said police were investigating the incident, but it was unclear whether the fire was deliberate or accidental, and a stray cigarette or glass bottle could have caused the dry vegetation to ignite.
The National Trust owns much of the land at the Cloud. Spokesman Debbie Peers said: “It spread through about 15 acres. Our concern was with it being spring there would be nesting birds and a number of amphibians. We did come across some cooked birds eggs.”
She said the heather was especially dry due to the run of warm weather, and advised visitors to be careful when disposing of cigarettes or barbeques.
Damage On the damage it caused she added: “Green shoots will probably start coming through soon, but there will probably be a scar there for the next year or so.”
For pictures and more information turn to page 18.
Brereton Handbell Ringers hope to soon be ringing in the changes for their group. Since the departure of Kate Hayden, they have been on the lookout for a new musical director. For the full story on their ap-peal for help, turn to page 12. (“Chronicle” photo. 1731a/10).
Have a say on future of town
The two proposals for developing Congleton’s town centre and the town council’s annual report will top the agenda at this year’s annual Town Meeting, on Tuesday in Congleton Town Hall.
The meeting, which will start at 7.15pm and finish by 8.30pm, will be chaired by Town Mayor Coun Ernie Clarke.
The agenda has been kept short to allow more time for public questions and open debate. In previous years a packed agenda has led to some complaints about lack of time for public questions and issues.
By law, the town council must organise and host a town meeting each year before the end of May. Anyone who has a right to vote in Congleton has a right to attend, speak and ask questions.
Coun Clarke said: “This is an important time for Congleton. It is great that we have two developers wanting to invest in our town centre; it is crucial that we get this development right. I hope as many people as possible will spare an hour or so to come along and to join in discussions on the future of our town.”
Browns of Congleton
Always the market leaders Always in vogue - Always welcoming 62a High Street, Congleton. 01260 291332
‘We will resign’ threat by youth councillors amid gagging fears
Members of Congleton’s Youth Council said they would rather resign than be reduced to sitting in meetings “for show”.
They were responding to the town council’s new constitution, which sets out rules for councillors and procedure at council meetings.
It was discussed at a full council meeting on Thursday evening.
Youth councillors supported an amendment giving them freedom to speak on different issues being discussed during meetings, and not just in a youth council section.
However, they were unhappy with item 94, a constitutional amendment that would prevent them from asking questions or making statements to the council unless the town mayor was “advised in advance of the meeting.”
The controversial item has now been removed from the constitution after opposition from committee members.
Jon Foster, (16), youth committee chairman, said item 94 would effectively gag him and his colleagues.
Addressing the full council, he said: “We are over the moon with the change to the constitution that allows us to speak at meetings.
“However, I cannot stress seriously enough how unanimous we are in wanting to stop the second item going through.
“If we were not able to ask questions at meetings, we would just be here for show and not substance. If we have to submit any questions we want to ask in advance then it would diminish the democracy we represent.
• —Turn to back page.
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