Why are we paying for the Sorting Office?

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This week's Chronicle reports that the Crewe Sorting Office owned by Royal Mail has been sold to Cheshire East for £2.75million. This follows the seemingly catastrophic decision to move the Sorting Office's work to Warrington at a cost of 600 local jobs.

It's reported "that its purchase by Cheshire East Council is seen as a prime spot for a landmark development as part of an ambitious plan to redevelop Crewe Railway station."

Putting it simply, isn't one public body funded by Council Tax payers buying a building also belonging to taxpayers no longer wanted by Royal Mail? Why has our money been spent buying something we already own?

Of greater importance locally, the purchase comes at a time when Cheshire East is cutting back on numerous front-line services. Indeed the same issue of the Chronicle reports that the next casualty could be the Meals on Wheels service used by 328 vulnerable people. A host of other services, many affecting Audlem, are also under threat.

Furthermore, isn't another public body, the re-nationalised Network Rail, responsible for developing railway stations? Cheshire East says the Council has now become the catalyst for a new 'rail gateway' and for the long-term regeneration of the station. Why isn't this Network Rail's responsibility — or is the Council planning to sell it to them later?

As we say, you can call us simple. But can anyone explain why £2.75million of our money has just been spent on what we already own? We know the answer will be about assets owned by different public bodies, but it seems it's entirely local Cheshire East taxpayers footing the bill.

Put at its simplest, against most people's wishes, Royal Mail moved from Crewe, destroyed local jobs and is now providing an appalling service for Cheshire East residents. Yet, those very same residents are being forced to give Royal Mail £2.75million of their money for something Network Rail should be responsible for. All a bit strange.

Fortunately, there is still hope for local taxpayers. Cheshire East simply have to put the £2.75million cheque to Royal Mail in the post. Chances are it will never arrive!


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