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Town centre is dying from neglect, yet council does nothing

I DON'T usually quote rival newspapers, but the headline on the front page of this week’s Leek Post reads: ‘Free Parking U-turn in bid to help boost town’s trade’.

I DON'T usually quote rival newspapers, but the headline on the front page of this week’s Leek Post reads: ‘Free Parking U-turn in bid to help boost town’s trade’.

Staffordshire Moorland and District Council have voted to retain their free parking periods and to freeze parking charges at all other times to help boost local trade.

"We understand the worry and concern of residents and businesses. These are difficult times for everyone and it is now intended to promote our three towns using the free parking issue," said one leading councillor.

Congleton already offer free town centre parking and Macclesfield Borough Council offer…go on…give us a clue?

With the jobless figure in Macclesfield up 40 per cent and shops closing on a weekly basis, what initiatives have we seen from MBC or its alter ego Cheshire East?

While our council has been handing out ludicrous salaries like a Fairy Godmother, our town centre is dying from neglect. When McDonald’s can’t make it, the writing is clearly on the wall.

With the credit crunch starting to bite, Christmas trading will be absolutely vital to many town centre retailers. If councillors don’t recognise this and take some affirmative action, we’re going to see more closing down sales.

By now we should be rejoicing at the redevelopment of Macclesfield town centre. Instead we have little or no progress and a desperate mood of uncertainty.

Apart from dog dirt and dustbins, there’s not an awful lot left for MBC councillors to do. East Cheshire or Cheshire East or whatever damn name they give themselves are too busy preening to see the storm clouds gathering.

Traders need action NOW. Not next April or a year come Friday. They need it today. Sort out the parking, give them a tax break, book some street entertainment. Light up the town, organise a Victorian market, but do something.

"In times of crisis the best course of action is to do the right thing. The second best is to do the wrong thing and the worst is to do nothing" - Sir Winston Churchill.

The views on this page are Vic Barlow's and not necessarily those of the Express

 
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