CREWE Town Council has been left perplexed by a borough decision to offer business space in the Municipal Buildings – only six months after the authority was told there was no room left in the facility.
In September, the Tory-led Cheshire East Council told the all-Labour town council that any spare capacity at the Earle Street building had been earmarked for future use by CEC themselves.
But this week, town council leader, Kevin Hickson, said he was ‘surprised’ to hear CEC leader, Cllr Michael Jones, offer space in the Municipal building to the Crewe Chronicle newspaper.
At CEC’s cabinet meeting on March 24, Cllr Jones said: “I’m very happy to tender an offer to the Crewe Chronicle team that if they do want to be based somewhere, that we can find a place for them in the Municipal Building.”
Responding, Cllr Hickson said: "I was surprised to hear this announcement. We as a town council, the only democratic body dedicated to Crewe, have been trying to get what we believe is our rightful home in the Municipal Buildings - the historic seat of local democracy in the town - since we were established last year.
“We recognised the ownership of the building had passed to Cheshire East and were willing to pay rent.”
A spokesman for Cheshire East Council defended the decision, saying that ‘in the interest of defending public service journalism the council has made the offer of an office as a base so that journalists can retain a town centre presence’.
The spokesman added: “It would be a small, functional space for one or two journalists – and hardly suitable to accommodate an entire town council.”
The town council say that they themselves would have only required a small amount of space in the building.