Cheshire East under PC pressure

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Audlem Public Toilets August 2011

Monday night's Audlem Parish Council meeting saw Cheshire East council facing strong criticism over a wide range of issues.

The borough came under particular pressure over the failure of its Estates and Legal departments to carry through the timely transfer of the freehold from the borough to the parish council of the public toilets in Cheshire Street.

The toilets have been fully refurbished but remain locked because the transfer has not been finalised despite many months when this could have been completed. The council's Estates department surveyed the property four months ago but little or nothing seems to have happened since.

Cheshire East had agreed to fund the refurbishment before the transfer but, it was revealed, has also failed to keep up the schedule of payments to cover the work.

Local Cheshire East councillor Rachel Bailey, who was in attendance, was asked if there wasn't a process in place for the transfer of properties as part of Cheshire East's long-standing devolution programme. She confirmed that the process had only been approved that very day by Cheshire East's cabinet and that Audlem's toilets were the very first building being transferred under that policy. "You have shown the way", the parish council was told.

Chris Allman from Cheshire East had apologised by email for the delays that afternoon and parish councillors confirmed that no blame was attached to him as he had been helpful and supportive throughout the project.

Mr Allman indicated that the transfer would, hopefully, be completed this month. In the meantime, Audlem's pristine refurbished toilets remain closed for administrative reasons! Watch this space — we await progress this month with interest.

Cheshire East were also criticised for their failure to promote adequately a play session organised late last month by the council — as reported on AudlemOnline on 3rd September.

Questions were also asked about the long delay in painting lines on the public car park. This would increase capacity by a possible 50% on the heavily used facility yet detailed plans had been in existence since 2006 but nothing had happened.

There was a ray of sunshine with news that Cheshire East had confirmed at a Local Area Partnership (LAP) transport meeting that money was now budgeted for changing the A525 signage to reflect the road's removal from the Primary Route Network.

The meeting closed with a heart-felt plea from a parent with children at Audlem St James' school that the parish council works with the recently appointed Interim Executive Board to ensure the school is fully engaged with the community.