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CE car Park Charges Decision

27th January 2024 @ 6:06am – by Stephanie Richardson
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Cheshire East Highways & Transport Meeting – Decision

Once upon a time in Audlem’s SAFE Group, there was a heroic scribe named Adrian armed with a pen mightier than Excalibur itself. With unparalleled dedication, he and the group meticulously crafted a letter so articulate, it could make Shakespeare question his life choices. This epic missive not only unveiled our concerns but also showcased a Sherlock Holmes level scrutiny of the 'The Jacobs UK Ltd Parking Strategy Report' for Audlem, exposing more holes than a Swiss cheese. Copies of this Epistle were dispatched to each member of the Highways Committee faster than you could say ‘procedural irregularities’, and we waited with bated breath for responses. Alas, the only sound echoing through the chambers of bureaucracy was the deafening silence of unopened emails. It seems Councillor Craig Browne and his crew were mastering the fine art of political evasion—a skill he might have picked up at the Trump School of Politics, where they teach the art of dodging questions like Neo dodges bullets in The Matrix.

The atmosphere in the room was so tense that we ended up with an impressive lineup of 30 public speakers. Hold onto your hats, because 29 of them were going all out on car park charges in Cheshire East, and our fearless foursome took on the role of Audlem ambassadors. Public speaking time went from a quick 15 minutes to an epic 1.5 hours, matching the monumental opposition levels. And, just for fun, someone threw in a cheeky reference to Fujitsu!

Unfazed, we fearlessly plunged on, seizing this golden opportunity to charm the decision makers. Michael Willcocks from Audlem Medical Centre transformed into a healthcare superhero, passionately defending the well-being of our residents. Meanwhile, Brian Bugeja, our leader, tossed a question into the ring, only to catch a response that was as exciting as a damp squid. Then, out of nowhere, Geoff Seddon, the APC Chairman, dropped the comedic bombshell of the meeting, revealing to the Highways Committee that Audlem was Station-less and Chapel Lane-less! Surprise, surprise! Who would've thought? Someone get these strategists a map, or at least a sense of Audlem's geographical punchlines!

Next up to the witness box, sorry, microphone, was Rachel Bailey, a maestro of unexpected announcements and an orchestrater of bureaucratic surprises. Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, she revealed that Cheshire East had secretly budgeted for green bins without bothering to inform us, a classic "fait accompli" move. And let's not forget the pièce de résistance—a £112,000 flawed Strategy Plan, a true masterpiece in the art of financial missteps. Meanwhile, the Rural Action Plan for Audlem must have taken a vacation, as it was nowhere to be found in the grand scheme of things. Move over, Sherlock Holmes; Rachel Bailey is the fearless opponent we never knew we needed in the world of local governance!

In this epic showdown with Cheshire East, we bravely took on the role of neighbourhood superheroes, defending our turf like it was the last slice of pizza in the box. The atmosphere was so tense you could cut it with a knife as we confronted the villainous challenges and sneaky tricks from our foes. One valiant council member, suspected of possibly voting against the parking charges, was faced with the dreaded 'whip' and decided they'd rather be somewhere else than deal with this political drama.

In a democracy, where the people's voices are treated like background elevator music, it's less ‘government by the people’ and more ‘government by the whims of politicians with selective hearing’. The system is so efficient that the verdict was delivered faster than a sloth on a caffeine rush, and we suspect that was even before the whole round of ‘Let's Talk It Out' had begun. This was more heart-wrenching than missing out on free drink.

But fear not! The essence of SAFE (Superheroes Against Formidable Enemies) lives on! We're dusting off our capes, straightening our masks, and preparing to bounce back like a rubber ball. This saga might not be entirely over, who knows, maybe the sequel involves unexpected allies, a surprise twist, and a triumphant comeback! Stay tuned for the next thrilling episode of ‘The Adventures of SAFE: Defenders of the Neighbourhood’!

Result of the Debate

All of the proposed Car Park charges were agreed, including Sundays. These will commence from October, however on the plus side, Cheshire East agreed to start Audlem’s Public Car Park from 9.00 am until 3.00 pm to ensure children could be safely delivered and collected from school. They also agreed to allow payments for just 30 minute periods, for those who choose the short stay options. More importantly for some Audlem residents, they voted against cashless meters so residents will have a choice about how they pay. The single yellow lines on Windmill Drive and double yellow lines on Tollgate Drive will go ahead. Michael Willcocks passionate plea helped keep the door open for future discussions to consider car park spaces for medical centres and/or parking discs. Further possibilities will be dealt with by the APC.

Finally, a big thank you to all of those who spent their time and energy fighting against this decision. I’m proud to have worked with you all.

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