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THURSDAY, 6th OCTOBER, 2011.
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Birthday on the buses Readers'ViewsPages23-26 Page 5
What’s on... What’s gone...
Town puts kettle on
Legal hold-up stalls revamp of town centre
By Chris Young Work on the new Bridestones shopping centre in Congleton, given the green light in July 2010, has not started because of a legal hitch.
Expansion of the town centre site, to include a new supermarket, hotel, shops, restaurants and a market square, was due to start this month and e completed next year. But Cheshire East Council, which said the scheme was an “urgent priority” to boost the town, has not found an external lawyer to sign it off.
S c a r b o r o u g h Developments, the company behind the project, said it was only legal issues, and not any funding problems, that were causing the delay.
The council and Scarborough must work out section 106 agreements, which require a developer to agree conditions.
These include paying for work on surrounding roads and providing space for a new outdoor market.
Breaking the news at Congleton Town Council’s Planning Committee on Thursday, town clerk Brian Hogan said: “Work will be delayed for at least six weeks so Cheshire East can find a lawyer to produce the final document.
“The developer’s plan was originally to be on site by October but this is more likely to be January now.”
Coun Neville Price said Cheshire East had the process “back to front” by approving the plans before they were ready to
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He added: “The council should have top lawyers in every department, they shouldn’t have to externalise it. I find this unbelievable.”
Coun Larry Barker said: “I am surprised it takes six weeks for the council to find and instruct a solicitor. Just look one up on a website!”
Coun Sally Ann Holland said: “We have put quite a lot of money into making a town centre plan. This is a major part of that, and it has been delayed two or three times already.”
Coun Price added: “The more this i s delayed, the worse the f inancial s i tuation will be. The longer i t i s delayed, the more the chance this won’t take place.”
• —Turn to back page.
Making a big bank statement on Friday was this milky eagle owl, which appeared at the Barclays Congleton branch on the arm of Stuart Chapman of Blackbrook Zoological Park. The bird didn’t give a hoot as customers donated £200 - matched by the bank - for both Macmillan Cancer Support’s world’s biggest coffee morning and the zoo, in Winkhill, near Leek. Bank manager Rob Mosley, also pictured, said: “It’s not every day you see an owl in the bank!”(“Chronicle” photo. 4009a/11).
Train driver saw body on track by Congleton station
Police have yet to formally identify a 40-year-old man who was found dead by the rail track near Congleton train station on Monday.
The driver of a Manchester to Stoke train spotted the body shortly before 8.30am on Monday and contacted police and paramedics.
British Transport Police are treating the death as “unexplained” and said it was unlikely his name would be revealed before the end of the week.
Train services were stopped while police recovered the body and re-started at 10.30am.
“Chronicle” reporter Chris Young was returning to Congleton on the 7.47am Manchester to Stoke train after visiting his family in Liverpool.
He said: “The train stopped quite abruptly just before we got to Congleton station.
“I was wondering why, because we were only a few hundred yards from the platform.
“After about five minutes the conductor came and told me that the driver had spotted a body on the track, and we had stopped so he could report it.
“I looked out the window and could see something on the side of the line, but couldn’t really make out what it was.
“After about 10 minutes we started moving again, and when we got to the station I got off. They let people on the platform on but the train didn’t move.
“As I was leaving the station I saw the police pull up. There were about three police cars and an ambulance. The officers all put on high visibility jackets and then headed down the track.”
A police helicopter circled overhead.
A British Transport Police spokesman said: “BTP were called to the lines close to Congleton rail station after a train driver reported seeing a body on the line. • —Turn to back page.
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