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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, 3rd JUNE, 2010.
INSIDE: OUR COMPREHENSIVE PROPERTY GUIDE FEATURING LOCAL ESTATE AGENTS
Vintage rally Readers' Views Pages 18-20 Page 7
What’s on... What’s gone...
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Cost cuts put plans for two new health centres in coma
By Chris Young Plans for new health centres in Congleton and Scholar Green are on hold until the new coalition Government’s spending plans become clear.
Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trust made the announcement on Tuesday following months of speculation that the projects faced financial trouble.
According to a statement the trust’s “change in financial circumstances” meant the Congleton Health Centre plans, incor-
orating the town’s three existing doctors’ surgeries, would be delayed until autumn at the earliest.
The future of the Scholar Green super surgery, accompanied by a 56-house estate, would be reviewed this month.
The Congleton project, earmarked for the town centre Fairground car park site, would have incorporated medical facilities not currently available in the town. Public consultation was to have started this summer with the centre completed by 2012.
Work on the Scholar Green centre, earmarked for a site on Portland Drive, was due to begin last year after over four years’ planning.
Despite some villagers wondering if the plans would be delayed due to the economic downturn, David Rowson, representing the trust, told the “Chronicle” last September that the development would only be halted in a “worst case scenario”.
Both projects were originally to be paid for by growth in the trust’s finances but now there is a budget deficit.
Centres planned for Middlewich, Knutsford, Northwich and Alderley Edge are also on hold.
The “Chronicle” reported that the Congleton health centre plans had run out of money in April. Since then the Conservative/ Liberal Democrat Government has pledged to cut public spending by £6bn this year.
The trust statement read: “We had planned to deliver these schemes with growth in NHS finances, and now with a change in financial circumstances projects would have to be completed at no extra cost. If cost savings cannot be found, it is unlikely that any formal activity will be possible until after the general spending plans of the new Government become clearer.
“It has been decided to review the Scholar Green project earlier than the rest, in late June.
“While this planning process continues there is a need to provide minimal help to those GP practices that are in the most inappropriate buildings.
“We need also to focus on the provision of more intermediate care beds across the district and continue to work with patients, professionals and local people to develop new, integrated services that better meet the needs of patients and can be delivered more economically.”
Andy Bacon, the trust’s integrated care programme director, looked on the bright side: “While this brings serious challenges, I believe this pause in activity may provide some benefits as it will help us to continue to plan to rationalise all heath service, social services and other council estate holdings.
“We also want to include the need to provide new mental health in-patient facilities in addition to looking for ways to integrate the delivery of care from both hospitals and services to patients in the community”
The trust has asked the public to comment on the situation by emailing comments @cecpct.nhs.uk or by calling 0800 5877 888.
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Councillors’ expense claims total revealed on Cheshire East list
Cheshire East councillors’ claims for expenses totalled £1,357,803.01 last year.
The “Chronicle” found out the figure after obtaining the councillors’ expenses list via the Freedom of Information Act.
The council took nearly a month to reply with the information that used to be routinely put in agendas.
The list shows that in addition to the £11,199.96 basic allowance given, some councillors are doubling their income with additional expenses.
Out of the 85 listed, council leader Coun Wesley Fitzgerald had the highest total at £45,255.16 while nine councillors including Sandbach’s councillors Elsie Alcock and Andrew Barratt claimed no additional expenses.
Coun Fitzgerald received £27,999.96 for his responsibility, and claimed £831 for general expenses and £5,224.24 travel costs.
He was unavailable for comment as the “Chronicle” went to press as he is on leave until Monday.
Congleton Town Mayor and Cabinet member with responsibility for performance and capacity, Coun David Brown, received a total of £28,271.47, which works out an average of £543.68 per week.
Coun Brown received £14,000.04 for responsibility and claimed £46.50 for general expenses, £3.10 for subsistence and total travel of £3,021.87.
Congleton councillor and Cabinet member with the responsibility for adult services and deputy leader, Coun Roland Domleo received £179.32 less than Coun Brown with a total of £28,092.15 of which £14,000.04 is received for his responsibility.
Coun Domleo said that his claims replaced what he used to earn when he ran a small industrial noise control company, which he had to give up when he began working full time for the council.
• —Turn to page 25.
Vintage vehicle lovers set the wheels in motion for a fun-packed bank holiday weekend at Smallwood Vintage Rally. Nine-year-old Thomas Heart was among the revellers who rolled in for the annual event. For the full story and more photographs, turn to pages 22 and 23. (“Chronicle” photo. 2218a/10).