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Small Common plan could now include covid memorial

A memorial for covid victims in Sandbach could be considered in the latest plans for a facelift of the Small Common car park.

The Chronicle has previously reported that more than £203,000 could be spent on the revamp aimed at “modernising” and “enhancing” the area, at least double the original budget.

The design plans had included a series of canopies under which traders could set up their stalls on market days.

These proposals were rebuffed in a public consultation in which the overall consensus of the 93 residents who responded was that the canopies plans should be ditched.

An artist’s impression of the original design showed six large canopies covering most of the parking spaces, under which traders would be able to set up their stalls so council staff would not have to erect multiple gazebos.

The outcome of the consultation and alternative plans were explained by Coun Donal Hegarty, chair of the Small Common Redevelopment Sub-Committee, at a full town council meeting on Wednesday.

He said: “The public was not in favour of the canopies, it was very clear to the committee. They were estimated to cost £82,000 and we are not proceeding with it.

“Everyone agreed that the grounds needed to be updated and were encouraged by the environmental aspects.

“We always looked at wanting to increase the disabled parking from two spaces to four, and through losing the canopies we will be able to do this.”

The town council owns and manages the Small Commons car park, where stalls are set up for the outdoor market every Thursday and Sunday.

Coun Hegarty explained that the original plan featuring the canopies was an attempt to bring the town centre up to a modern standard, but he now looked at it as an open space.

A new plan is to build a memorial for those in Sandbach who lost their lives to covid, while keeping aspects from the original draft plan such as the planters, seating area, a plaque commemorating Foden’s Band and resurfacing the area.

Coun Gill Merry added: “The surface is deteriorating significantly, and it won’t be long until somebody takes a tumble.” It is expected that a planning application will be submitted to Cheshire East Council in due course.


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