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THURSDAY, 3rd MARCH, 2011.
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Teams go to great lengths
Locals would be a better stock to run park’s restaurant
By Chris Young There’s been a furious response after a five-year contract to manage the restaurant in Congleton Park was given to a Merseyside
See next week’s “Chronicle”
for the UGO competition company, instead of the two local women who now run it.
Lisa Whitehurst and Louise Probert set up Stock at the Pavilion in July after being awarded a temporary contract by Cheshire East Council.
When they applied for a permanent contract for another five years, they were confident the council would keep them on.
However, on Friday they were told the contract had been given to the Echelon Group based in Merseyside. In a statement the council said it followed a very strict procurement process which was designed to be fair to all parties and ensure that value for money was delivered for taxpayers.
Since the decision, the
“Chronicle” has been flooded with letters criticising the council, the biggest response in one week to a single issue in recent history. A Facebook page has been set up to support Stock.
The pair launched an appeal against the decision, because it goes against council claims that it supported local businesses. And they added that it would be a contradiction of David Cameron’s Big Society idea of local people helping to run local services.
If the appeal is unsuccessful, the Pavilion will change hands next month.
Stock was the first business venture for Miss Whitehurst and Miss Probert. They said the tender process gave each applicant a percentage score. There’s was second with 86% compared to Echelon’s 88%.
Miss Probert believes the 2% difference did not justify choosing a large out of town group over a local business.
She believes the council was won over by the size of Echelon, which runs numerous cafes and restaurants in Merseyside.
And she added: “I don’t feel we were taken as seriously as we could have been.” The areas where they lost points were the cost of their menu and limited experience.
However, they argue the menu that was judged was their winter menu, and they were planning to introduce a cheaper take away menu in the summer.
They say their food is locally sourced, with the furthest supplier being in Kidsgrove. Miss Probert said: “Local people believe in supporting local businesses. The Government talks about the Big Society, but the council hasn’t supported us, they haven’t taken us seriously. The whole town is in uproar about it. The support we have got since the announcement was made is • —Turn to back page.
Swimmers dived in head first to raise money for a number o charities by taking part in a swimathon on Friday and Saturday at Congleton Leisure Centre. Pictured above is Alex Chaddock from ‘the Fizzies’ team. For the story and more pictures, turn to page 30. (“Chronicle” photo. 907a/11).
BURNSGaragesLtdCanalStreet,CONGLETONCall:01260273553For your Sat Nav: CW12 3AA
Special FX mastermind wasn’t dreaming after Oscar win for Inception
A Congleton special-effects mastermind reached the peak of his career at the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Paul Franklin, (44), who grew up in West Heath, Congleton, collected the Academy Award for best visual effects for his company’s work on “Inception”.
The special-effects-laden blockbuster starring Leonardo DiCaprio used cutting-edge film technology to create dreamscapes including a famous scene in Paris when the city twists and bends into a vertical wall.
Mr Franklin’s visual effects company, Double Negative, was rewarded for doing all of the effects work for “Inception”, made by British director Christopher Nolan film, after narrowly missing out on an Oscar two years ago for “The Dark Knight”.
the former Sandbach Boys School pupil, who started his career making promotional and corporate videos for Congleton-based Status Sales and Marketing, including a production for Fodens Trucks.
Since his big movie career took off he has worked on Harry Potter and James Bond films, “Sherlock Holmes”, “Kick Ass”, “Atonement” and “Iron Man 2”.
A spokesperson for Double Negative told the “Chronicle” that everyone at the company was delighted to have won the award.
His Oscar glory comes 22 years after starting his career at Status Sales and Marketing. There, the computer graphics developer worked on training and promotional films, a job that Mr Franklin credited with developing his animation skills.
It has been a dramatic rise for • —Turn to back page.
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