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THURSDAY, 9th FEBRUARY, 2012.
Arsonist goes global
Swimmers wanted Readers'ViewsPages22-25 Page 29
Counting the cost of wood factory blaze
What’s on... What’s gone...
Grove Inn store plan
By Chris Young Damage at a wood treatment plant that went on fire yesterday (Wednesday) could cost six figures, its managing director has said.
Firefighters spent much of the day tackling the laze at WTL International on Tunstall Road in Bosley.
The alarm was raised shortly before 7am after a motor at the factory overheated.
The fire spread to the uilding’s roof and a brick silo, housing around seven tonnes of wood flour.
At first, plant workers attempted to tackle the blaze with on-site fire fighting equipment, but soon realised the fire brigade was needed.
Five fire engines and a hydraulic platform were sent to the scene from Macclesfield, Wilmslow and Bollington.
And because of regular fire safety visits to the factory which are routine, the firefighters were familiar with the site and soon had the incident under control.
They wore breathing gear to tackle the flames while the hydraulic platform was used to fight the blaze from above the roof.
The fire burned for much of the morning and firefighters remained at the factory for most of the day after it had been brought under
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control. Smoke was still billowing out of an extractor fan on the roof at lunchtime.
Thermal imaging cameras were used to check for hot spots while areas at risk of catching fire were dampened down.
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Pressure on council to keep free transport for faith school pupils
Ending free transport to faith schools could make them unviable if parents who could not afford the fares pulled their children out, a governor warned Cheshire East Council.
The proposed cuts were discussed at a Cabinet meeting in Crewe on Monday and religious leaders, school representatives and parents had their say.
One even tried a bit of African wisdom to influence the council.
John Hibbert, a governor of Warmingham Church of England Primary School, said 13 children from that school used the bus service: “If we lose this percentage it is the equivalent of losing a teacher. It brings into question the viability of many rural schools.”
He said many parents sent their children to faith schools trusting transport to them would be free. He added: “Why should choice be tossed aside? Religion is a way of life, not a lifestyle choice.”
Ending subsidised transport to faith schools would save the council an estimated £200,000 a year, and a group that looked into whether it was practical to make these cuts claimed the subsidies were discriminatory to non-faith families.
Coun Louise Brown, from Macclesfield, had produced a “minority report” in which she claimed the same savings could be made through improving efficiency and staggering school start times. “Think of the possibilities we can achieve without the pain of cutting services,” she said.
Both the Roman Catholic Diocese of Shrewsbury and the Church of England Diocese of Chester have opposed the cuts, and headteacher of Marton and District C of E Primary School Nevin Deacon had told the council the cuts would harm her school, which covers a wide rural area.
John McCann, from the Diocese of Shrewsbury, told the meeting that more than 540 students in the borough would lose out if cuts were made.
Sandbach councillor Sam Corcoran, who is a parent of two children attending a faith school, said the proposed cuts would lead to many parents pulling their children out for financial reasons.
Coun Corcoran’s daughters attend St Gabriel’s School in Alsager and get free transport.
He told the meeting: “If there were no school bus and I had to take my daughters to school I would lose 7.5 hours a week of work time. I am a committed Catholic, but even I would be influenced by losing 7.5 hours a week. If my daughters don’t go to Catholic school then I am not likely to be a governor of that school. Thus the Catholic ethos of the school is eroded, not just by the loss of children, but also by parents.
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Boat fun in the snow Not having a sledge was snow problem for Lily and Mia Ross who skimmed down the slopes of Mossley in a inflatable boat on Sunday. For more pictures, see page 28. (“Chronicle” photo. 620e/12).
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