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Demand for ‘ugly’ white fence to go

An explanation is still awaited from Cheshire East Council about why the “ugly white fence” running the length of Congleton Leisure Centre has still not been taken down, almost a year after the revamped premises reopened.

The screening, with some sections long daubed with graffiti, was put up ahead of the leisure centre’s £11m redevelopment.

It runs virtually from the entrance to Hankinson’s Field from near the footbridge that crosses the river Dane at the park, all the way down one side of the building, except for a gap in the middle where it has been replaced with metal fencing and another for access from the field to the leisure centre/Worrall Street.

A letter printed in the “Chronicle” a couple of weeks ago written by Congleton man Peter Hartshorn said: “I recently made a complaint about the ugly white fence surrounding the new leisure centre and was told by a local councillor that it would be removed in the next four to six weeks. This was 10 weeks ago.”

He later told the “Chronicle”: “The areas inside the fence are just a mass of stones and there will be an awful mess when they remove the fence as every post is concreted in the ground.

“My opinion is this should have been done before contractors finished the building.”

Mr Hartshorn had added: “They (Cheshire East) are responsible for making builders finish sites to a good standard and they don’t do it themselves.”

Mr Hartshorn, who is also a member of Coronation Bowling Club, which is next to the leisure centre, said he was concerned that the club, which has been on Worrall Street for more than 100 years, had been denied access to the rear of its own property by leisure centre management.

Mr Hartshorn explained: “We have been doing a lot of upgrades at the bowling club and needed access at the rear, which we have always had.

“But there is now a fence with a gate, which we opened to gain access for a small digger.

However there have been people from the leisure centre out taking pictures and they have now fitted a lock, so the club had to spend money to get a new and bigger gate at the front of the club for machine access.”

The “Chronicle” has asked Cheshire East Council to comment as well as Coun Rob Moreton, who Mr Hartshorn contacted about his concerns.

In respect of the screening alongside the leisure centre, Mr Hartshorn said: “After chatting to a few locals, I was horrified to find out that Hankinson’s Field – that was gifted to the town for recreational use – was taken over by Cheshire East, so my question is how was this allowed to happen and will they be making any donations to local charities from the profits they make from land that was gifted to the town?”

A footnote appeared beneath his letter in respect of the field’s ownership. The editor wrote: “Hankinson’s Field was indeed given to the people of Congleton for their leisure use a long time ago, but it was later sold to Congleton urban district council and so passed to Congleton borough and then Cheshire East councils.”

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