Car park's closure would cause 'uproar'
Resident’ parking spaces could be lost after Cheshire East Council decided a car park was “lightly used” and did not generate any revenue.
Rope Walk Car Park, off Mill Street, is used by people living at Providence Mill, run by Plus Dane Housing.
A notice was recently posted on a lamppost saying that the public car park opposite the flats was to close and that it would not represent “a significant change to the total capacity across Congleton”.
However, a resident has said the council's claim that it was lightly used was “completely untrue” and that it was “always full”.
However it is understood that the new owner of the Lord Mountbatten pub, on the opposite side of Rope Walk from Providence Mill, has realised that half of the car park was on their property and had asked Cheshire East to pay them rent.
Apparently, the former Congleton Borough Council paid rent to the pub but none had been paid since Cheshire East Council came into being in 2009.
Providence Mill resident Billy Foster emailed every Congleton town councillor about the closure notice two weeks ago.
The matter has now been placed on the agenda of the town council's next Community and Environment Committee on Thursday (30th July).
Mr Foster, whose flat at Providence Mill overlooks the car park, said he saw a man placing the notices “very discreetly”.
Mr Foster told the Chronicle: “Without that car park there will be no provision for residents of the mill to park. I've only been living here a few months but everyone I've spoken to is quite worried. It's going to be problematic.
“You can come down here any day of the week and it’s full. It's not only used by residents but also customers of the Handy Cabin on Mill Street because there is no parking outside the shop.”
Mr Foster, who emailed his objection to Cheshire East, added: “The response was that the council only owned half of the car park and the pub owned the other half and wanted rent from the council.
“Even if the council owns just half of the car park, it could use that half and give mill residents parking permits.”
He warned that if there was no alternative provision, Rope Walk, a narrow street, would be “overflowing with cars”.
He added: “If more people knew about this in this part of Congleton there would be uproar.”
He praised Congleton town councillors for their “extremely helpful” response to his concern.
Town councillor Amanda Martin has seen the deeds to the pub, which she said showed that the area behind the pub does belong to its new owner, and the car park is taking up some space at the end of the property. Only the area behind 64 and 66, Mill Street belongs to Cheshire East Council, Coun Martin said.
Although the deadline for consultation on the car park closure was 3rd July, Coun Martin has asked for it to be put on the agenda of next week's meeting.
She also referred to an application for the variation of a section 106 agreement in 2012, which divided the contribution in lieu of public open space between the company who converted Providence Mill into flats and the owners of Danebridge Mill and Paradise Mill, which had been part of the original planning permission.
Coun Martin said: “This contribution should have gone towards public open space near Providence Mill. I am trying to find out whether this included the car park.”
Cheshire East Council was asked to comment but had not responded by deadline yesterday (Wednesday).